Pubdate: Wed, 27 Feb 2008
Source: Pensacola News Journal (FL)
Copyright: 2008 The Pensacola News Journal
Author: John Payne


This is in regard to the pedestrian killed in Navarre Feb. 15 while
crossing Highway 98. This is a problem that should be linked to our
values in this country.

More people die because of speeding and disregard of traffic laws than
from illegal narcotic use. How then do we justify the emphasis within
and without our law enforcement community where great glory is given
to drug busts, and only lip service is given to traffic law
enforcement efforts?

I couldn't find a meth lab or a marijuana field if my life depended on
it, but I can point out thousands of motorists in a couple of hours
breaking our speeding laws.

We talk about budget cuts and loss of services from the recent
rollback of property taxes. But give me 50 additional police officers
devoted to traffic enforcement on area roads and that money could
easily be made up.

The reason our society only pays lip service to traffic laws is that
we would be outraged if police strictly enforced them. We have decided
that going five or 10 mph over the posted limit is our right. We think
we can drive through when the light changes from yellow to red, and in
many cases after it is red, because we need to get where we're going, and
nobody enforces the law anyway.

Those who decry our lack of concern for societal problems will point
out many causes. They will say "look at rampant and unchecked drug and
alcohol use." They will say "look at the examples of life shown in
violent movies, television and video games." They will say it's
because of the liberal media or those people over there.

The real reason is that little Johnny and Suzie see mom and dad day in
and day out breaking laws right and left with a lack of concern. Mom
and dad saw their parents doing the same thing as they grew up.

I can remember my little girls chiding me for driving over the posted
speed limit as they grew up on the way to Sunday school on Sunday
mornings. I wasn't a very good example then.

I would just like each parent to understand that when you give your
son or daughter a talk about driving safety, drug use, alcohol
consumption or any of the many things that you worry about, their
decision about what they do will be in part based upon you as a role

You tell your son to slow down and the first thing that goes through
his mind will be your zipping down the interstate doing 80 or 85 mph.

Do you really think he's going to listen?

John Payne is retired from the U.S. Navy and a resident of Milton.
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