Short takes on issues
Salt Lake drivers • If you've ever tried to merge onto crowded Interstate 15 or change lanes to approach an exit, if you've been forced to slam on your brakes as another driver decides to turn left from the right lane, you may not be surprised that Salt Lake-area drivers are not ranked among the nation's best. But what might surprise you is that, apparently, motorists in the capital city and its suburbs are improving their driving habits. Allstate America's Best Drivers Report for last year says that, after five years of worsening safety records, Salt Lake drivers improved from No. 98 among 200 cities to No. 72. The study is based on how often a driver is involved in an accident. Now if we could just get drivers of all ages to turn off their cellphones, we would really be safer.
Profanity wins • Letting fly with a naughty word or two in public won't get you fined or land you in jail, Ogden officials have decided. They're right to back off. Ogden Public Services Director Jay Lowder had asked the City Council to include profanity among behaviors prohibited under the city's disorderly conduct ordinance. He was rightly concerned over outbursts at city-sponsored sports events that escalate to violence against players, referees, umpires and city workers. But such free-wheeling speech is likely protected as free speech by the constitution. Although the motivation was sincere, trying to enforce such an ordinance likely would have caused more violence than it prevented if irate fans were slapped with citations for cussing. It was a well-meaning attempt, but legislating civility is just not workable.
Goallll! for RSL • Even the most hopeful soccer fans might not have expected that Real Salt Lake would be seeing near-capacity crowds as commonplace just seven years after the franchise came to town. But that's what has happened as the Major League Soccer team settled into its home stadium in Sandy in 2008 after three seasons at Rice-Eccles Stadium. So far this year, average attendance at 20,000-seat Rio Tinto Stadium is 93 percent of capacity. To date in 2012, the stadium has been sold out for eight matches. Average attendance last year was 17,591. The popularity RSL is enjoying is reflected in attendance at MLS games across the country. Last year Major Leage Soccer scored the third-highest attendance of all U.S.-based professional sports leagues. RSL's winning record, including the 2009 MLS Cup victory, certainly has something to do with fans' enthusiasm. It's a win for both team and community.