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Don’t drive distracted


February 19, 2019 Letters to the Editor

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I read with great interest the letter from Denny Offstein in the Feb. 8, Butler Eagle. The writer makes some excellent points and I commend him for his concern for the motoring public.

Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, speeding, aggressive driving, and distracted driving are among some of the many causes of crashes.

In 2018, about 4,000 crashes were investigated by troopers assigned to Troop D, which includes part of Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Lawrence, and Mercer counties. Many of those crashes could have been prevented.

I am asked often if PSP conducts traffic enforcement details because there is a quota for the troopers to follow. There is no quota system.

Troopers enforce the laws because they are trained to detect crash-causing violations and they are sworn to enforce the law. The truth is that the State Police would consider it a good day if we were unable to find anyone speeding or breaking other laws that cause crashes. The reality is otherwise. In 2018, troopers from Troop D, issued some 40,000 traffic citations for various infractions, including speeding. Additionally, more than 1,600 arrests for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and/or Drugs were made by troopers just in Troop D’s area in 2018. Tragically, in 2018, 33 motorists were killed in 30 fatal crashes in the Troop D area. Of the 33 killed, 16 were not using their seat belts and four motorcycle riders were not wearing helmets.

Cell phone usage while driving is distracting and has resulted in many crashes. Regardless of who you are, using a phone, even with a “hands-free” device, diverts some attention from the important task at hand of safely controlling your vehicle. The State Police and other law enforcement agencies urge motorists to focus on driving while at the wheel. Text messages, voice messages, phone calls, and issues with the many other electronic devices we now rely on can and should wait until you arrive at a safe location.

If I could provide some advice to Pennsylvania motorists, it would be to always buckle up, obey all the rules of the road, do not drink and/or use drugs and drive, do not drive aggressively, and do not use any electronic devices while driving. Finally, keep your vehicle in good repair and, never drive faster than weather or other factors safely allow. Truly, traffic safety is the concern of all motorists and I urge everyone to drive with safety as a top priority. Like Mr. Offstein, I have seen too many terrible crashes.

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