Dangerous drivers out not only at holidays
Updated: September 14, 2012 1:16PM
It’s supposed to make us feel safer, but it has the opposite effect on me.
Every time a holiday rolls around, police announce they are beefing up traffic enforcement.
This year’s Labor Day holiday was no exception.
More than 200 Illinois law enforcement agencies joined with the Illinois State Police to crack down on bad drivers. From Aug. 17 through Labor Day, these law enforcement agencies beefed up their efforts to catch impaired drivers and people not using seat belts. Police were particularly vigilant from midnight to 3 a.m., the deadliest hours, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
This extra enforcement was funded by a federal grant administered through the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Results vary from town to town and comparison figures on tickets and arrests with other weekends are not available.
But police claim they make more stops, issue more tickets and make more arrests during these holiday crackdown efforts than during ordinary weeks.
And this is where I start feeling less safe.
If police catch more traffic-law violators during these holiday crackdowns, that is a good thing. People who might run into me or some other person are stopped, ticketed and maybe even arrested. So, we are saved from harm from those people — on that specific day.
But do these bad drivers break the law and endanger others only on holiday weekends?
I doubt it.
What about the other weekends — the vast majority of weekends and all the weekdays? What about all these times when traffic patrols haven’t been beefed up?
What the increase in tickets and arrests during these holiday crackdowns really says is that here are some bad drivers who most likely can get away with bad driving and endangering others most of the year. That there are some bad drivers who probably would not have been caught breaking the law except for the beefed-up police presence on the holiday crackdown.
I am not comforted.
Stopping bad drivers really is a matter of life and death and thus should be among law enforcement’s highest priorities, not only on holiday weekends.
Can those federal grants used to fund holiday crackdowns be increased to include more than just holiday weekends?~.