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Shaw: Knucklehead drivers and vulgar merchandise

In his latest column, InForum columnist Jim Shaw calls out dangerous winter drivers, comments on Rep. Michelle Fischbach's "Let's go Brandon" merchandise and applauds the University of North Dakota's gender inclusion policy.

Jim Shaw
Jim Shaw
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It happens every winter in North Dakota.

There is a major blizzard, no travel advisories are issued, the North Dakota Highway Patrol tells people the highways are closed and they should not drive and gates go up at many highway entrances indicating that the roadway is closed. Still, many idiots ignore all that and drive during the brutal conditions.

“A lot of people drive during these times for selfish reasons,” said North Dakota Highway Patrol Captain Bryan Niewind. “We don’t close roadways for no reason. It means conditions are very dangerous out there.”

To make matters worse, dozens of these knucklehead drivers get stuck and need to be rescued. This happened again during a severe storm last month. Some of the nincompoops simply drive around the barriers. Others go on their phones and find alternate routes, as if those roads won’t be full of snow, ice and high winds.

To Niewind, it’s infuriating to have to rescue these boneheads. “It’s nerve-wracking,” Niewind said. “We are risking our lives. Sometimes you can’t see. You run the risk of driving into somebody or somebody running into you. I’ve had very close calls. It’s very dangerous.”

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Part of the problem is from a legal perspective. There’s little incentive for these chowderheads to stay off the roads. It’s only a $20 fine if you go on a closed road that doesn’t have a barricade. It’s just a $250 fine for driving around road closed gates.

Let’s put some real teeth into these laws. For driving on a closed road without a barricade, there should be a $500 fine and your driver’s license is suspended for two weeks. For a second offense, there should be a $2,500 fine and a three-month suspended driver’s license.

For driving around road closed gates, there should also be a $2,500 fine and a three-month suspended driver’s license. For a second offense, there should be a $10,000 fine and a one-year suspension of a driver’s license.

Human behavior being what it is, fewer people will foolishly drive in the middle of blizzards on closed roads when they know the penalties are severe. That will make things safer for everyone, especially the Highway Patrol. Plus, it would allow the plows to clean up the highways much quicker.

Niewind can’t comment on legislation, but he did say, “There’s no excuse for people to be out there driving when it’s dangerous."

Shame on Minnesota U.S. Rep. Michelle Fischbach for selling “Let’s Go Brandon” hats, shirts and beer cozies. Promoting a vulgar-meaning expression against the President of the United States is inexcusable conduct from a member of Congress. Sadly, it’s not a surprise, as Fischbach disgracefully sided with the insurrectionists and voted to overturn the results of a free and fair presidential election.

Click here for more columns from Jim Shaw.

Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director.

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This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

Opinion by Jim Shaw
InForum columnist Jim Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director.
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