Thursday, October 04, 2007

Feel Better Fast Laws Aren't A Good Idea

I'm so sorry for the family and friends of Deputy Constable Jason Norling who was so tragically killed and is being buried today.

In both the Houston Comical and KHOU's report it has been said that the driver of the SUV that hit him was "thought to be using a cell phone" at the time and that has sparked an effort by the family to ban the use of cell phones while driving. That's just a feel better fast solution to a problem that has no solution if people don't have any common sense.

We already have the law that wasn't obeyed saying the driver of the SUV was suppose to slow down and give the deputy and the driver a wide berth. (A new state law requires motorists to switch lanes when they see an emergency vehicle along the side of the road. If they cannot switch lanes, they should slow down 20 miles below the speed limit. But that apparently did not happen this time, according to authorities.) Enforce THAT law please don't make another one.

Better to make it policy that people have to acknowledge the officer and then be instructed to drive to a place of safety off the highway entirely. Although, come on, there is no place of safety if it's your time to go. Now I'm the first to tell you, I don't know bean one about how to conduct a traffic stop, etc., but look more closely at the procedure and not at the millions that don't run over LEOs conducting traffic stops. People ought to have sense enough to pull over and yak on their phones without trying to do multi-tasking, but they don't. I don't. You don't. The deputy most likely didn't either. You can't stop people from taking and driving any more than you can stop them from drinking and driving. You can catch some of them and punish them, but you can't catch them all.

I hope and pray that this senseless death helps to educate some people about both the new law pertaining to emergency vehicles on the side of the roadway AND how dangerous it is to be distracted by something so easy to avoid, but no law will ever make it not happen again and again.

My biggest fear about the slow down or change lanes law is the danger of a rear end collision just trying to comply with THAT law. People, myself included, drive to fast and follow too closely and I'm pretty sure there are laws about THAT on the books too.

I apologize if this post offends anyone for any reason. I had to get it off my chest and I mean no disrespect to Deputy Norling's memory or his survivors. There's not a day that goes by that I don't worry about my friends that wear a badge and pray for their safety whether they are engaged in traffic stops or sitting behind a desk with their feet propped up OR talking on their cell phones while driving around the mean streets.

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