Take responsibility behind the wheel

It's called responsibility. Every time you get behind the wheel of your car, pickup or SUV, you are taking on a responsibility for the people around you and the people in other vehicles who trust you to be paying attention and making sound decisions.

Douglas County has had a terrible streak of accidents - seven deaths in one month - but Carson City, Lyon County and Washoe Valley have also seen plenty of horrifying crashes. Now the Douglas Sheriff's Office has stepped up enforcement to try to get the attention of wayward drivers.

There is no single unifying theme to the accidents. They are going to happen. But there is also no amount of traffic controls, highway improvements, speed limits or patrol cars to overcome a sheer lack of personal responsibility behind the wheel.

We couldn't agree more with Douglas Sgt. Tom Mezzetta when he says, "We see drivers eating behind the wheel, talking on the phone, reading papers, putting on makeup, conversing with others in the vehicle. Inattention is definitely a major factor along with driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs."

You see them too, don't you? Cell phones are clearly a major hazard on the road. Every day we watch dozens of people driving along, chatting on their phones and obviously not seeing what's going on around them.

Carson City is currently jammed with street-construction projects (though thankfully most will be concluding soon), which wear on people's nerves and, for some reason, inspire them to make stupid driving decisions.

Most important, though, is that schools are back in session and school zones are in effect. Let's concentrate on avoiding the worst kind of accident we can imagine.

There is no excuse for bad drivers. We trust that most of you are responsible and conscientious. But that urge to go a little over 15 mph in a school zone, that reflexive response to answer a ringing cell phone in the car, that split-second decision to cruise through a yellow light - resist them.

Let's help the cops protect us from the bad guys, instead of from ourselves.


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