Law enforcement should get tough

Give-way-to-ambulance

This is the digital age so, no matter where you look, there are videos of bad driving available for you to watch 24/7. In fact only a few minutes of viewing will convince you there are some really bad drivers out there. And then you realize you have only viewed a tiny fraction of one percent of all the videos uploaded for just this month. In fact, watching local, state, and national news should convince you we are in the midst of an epidemic of bad driving. The result? Even though the number of miles driven is reducing and there are slightly fewer vehicles on the road than there were ten years ago, it’s getting more dangerous to be out of the road. In some parts of the country, the rate of crashes is steadily increasing. But that’s only the first part of the problem. There are two other factors adding to the danger:

• In many areas, there are serious budget problems because the tax base has been declining. People are moving out, property values have been falling, and many people have been slow to pay their taxes. As a result, cuts have been made in public services. There are fewer people to drive out to the scenes of accidents to cut out the victims and transport them to hospital. The response times have been falling and, because of the delays, more people are being seriously injured or are dying.

• All you other drivers are becoming less cooperative. Even if you notice an accident and call for help, the drivers of emergency vehicles report you are too slow to get out of the way when they are trying to get to the scenes of accidents. In part, this is because you don’t care what happens to those trapped and injured in wrecks. But there’s also a stubbornness involved. You don’t think you should have to get out of the way of an ambulance. As a result, emergency vehicles are arriving too late to save people or, if they arrive while drivers and passengers are alive, their injuries have become more severe because of the delay.

So no matter how skilful the doctors and nurses may be in the ERs, this counts for nothing if people arrive too late for help. The only remedy is to significantly beef up the enforcement of the law. If drivers refuse to clear the way for emergency vehicles to get through, video records taken from dashcams in each vehicle should be used to prosecute all the self-absorbed drivers who block the roads. It’s s easy to collect the evidence. License plate readers can easily identify the owners of these vehicles. They should all be in court explaining their attitude and behavior to judges. Put the other way round, the local law enforcement agencies are aware of this problem. Failure to make this type of prosecution a high priority means the enforcement officers are positively condoning behavior which causes harm to local citizens.

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