Encouraging people to drive responsibly isn’t easy. Even after a driver has shown negligent behavior, how do you get them to change their ways?
One judge in Cleveland had a radical approach. A woman, Shena Hardin, came through his court after driving recklessly. The 32-year-old woman drove onto the sidewalk to pass a school bus while children were getting off the bus. This was not a one-time mistake – a witness told reporters that Hardin did this “almost every day last year.” There are two schools located within a couple of blocks from the busy intersection where Hardin made her sidewalk detour. It’s a miracle none of the children were hurt.
The Cleveland Municipal Court judge added an unusual punishment to the already $250 court cost and 30-day license suspension for Hardin. She actually had to stand outside in the cold on the street corner holding a warning sign. Her sign warned the general public of the ever-increasing threat of morons. The sign read, “Only an idiot would drive on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus.”
Hardin reportedly held her sign while smoking a cigarette and listening to music. Cars drove by honking at her. Neighbors and parents felt her bizarre punishment was well worth it. Neighborhood mother, Lisa Kelley, told reporters, “She’s not remorseful, she laughed at every court appearance. She’s still laughing, so she needs to be humiliated like this.”
Kelley’s not alone in her thinking. Neighbor Bill Lipold echoed her sentiment when he told the media, “How else are you going to stop her from doing it again? She really didn’t show remorse for her action after being caught, so you’ve got to try something.”
Getting people to change isn’t easy. On the one hand, no one wants to be embarrassed for a one-time mistake, but some repeat offenders could use the added incentive. Maybe this Cleveland judge will inspire some of his or her Texan counterparts to think creatively and proactively about changing reckless behavior.