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Posted 4/12/16 (Tue)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

How often do you see the driver of the vehicle next to you texting on their phone while they are motoring down a city street or highway? Or how often do you, as a driver, grab your cell phone and decide to text someone? The answer to those questions is no doubt, “all too often!”
Whether or not you want to believe it, texting while driving is one of the most dangerous activities you can do. Nationally, in 2014, an estimated 3,179 people were killed (10 percent of all crash fatalities) and an additional 431,000 were injured (18 percent of all crash injuries) in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
And, more importantly, it is illegal in North Dakota. Which is why during the month of April, city and state law enforcement agencies are stepping up their enforcement of this law with their “U Drive. U Text. U Pay” campaign.
Under North Dakota state law, composing, reading or sending any electronic message or using a communications device to access the Internet while driving is illegal for drivers of all ages. And violating the state’s texting law, which has been in effect since Aug. 1, 2011, can be costly. The fine is $100. The law applies to any driver of a vehicle in a traffic lane, even while stopped at a red light or in a construction zone.
If you have the habit of texting while driving, stop doing so. Not only because it’s against the law, but also for the safety of yourself and those in your vehicle, as well as the other motorists that you are sharing the road with.
If you have a loved one that you know texts, or you are a passenger in a vehicle when the driver starts to text, please tell them to stop.
Texting and driving don’t mix.


This has definitely been North Dakota’s year to shine at the NCAA Division 1 sports level. The North Dakota State Bison football team won their fifth straight FCS national championship title in February. And this past weekend, the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks won their eighth NCAA national hockey championship.
For the University of North Dakota, Saturday’s win was the end of a long 16-year drought at winning the national title. And the win came at a very special, yet controversial, time as UND is transitioning away from their “Fighting Sioux” nickname to their new nickname, the “Fighting Hawks.”
For many players on this year’s UND hockey team, as well as to their thousands of fans across North Dakota and the United States, the transition to the new nickname hasn’t been easy. The chants of “Let’s go Sioux” and “Sioux Forever” rang out continuously through the semifinal and championship games. Even in post game interviews with the players, there was no mention of the “Fighting Hawks,” only how proud they were to be the “Fighting Sioux.”
It is unfortunate that the NCAA ruled that UND could no longer have the “Fighting Sioux” nickname. But, while that nickname may have been retired, it is still going to be used by fans for years to come.