HOUSTON – A Texas Highway Patrol officer is calling out distracted drivers in a passionate plea posted online.
Here’s the full op-ed:
“Another multi-fatality crash.
“Heartbreaking, frustrating and concerning for all citizens.
“As a Safety Education Officer, I spend countless hours trying to educate and inform the public about the dangers of driving.
“Another fatality on US 67 Wednesday in Erath County, where 3 people died. Another wrong side of roadway due to speed and a slick roadway due to the rain. And another innocent woman was hit.
“The frustrating part is that they are all 100% preventable.
“If you do not concentrate 100% on your driving skills, you are setting yourself up for a crash. Sadly though these string of crashes took the lives of people just driving down the road and another vehicle suddenly drives on the wrong side of the roadway hitting them head-on. Or someone was not paying attention (texting/cell phone) and struck another vehicle stopped on the highway to make a turn, killing two beautiful little girls.
“I am concerned for the safety of my family and all of our citizens.
“I was traveling to Weatherford last week in my patrol car and had another driver traveling south on 51 come across into my lane and nearly hit me. He was trying to put his Big Gulp cup into a cup holder. Later that day a friend of mine who was driving a truck pulling a trailer in front of me text me and said, ‘Wow that was close.’
“Distractions are getting us hurt and killed. Please put down the cell phone. We have a State Law that prohibits ‘texting’ but it is not just a dexterity issue. It is a driver inattention issue, also known as inattention blindness.
“‘Hands-free’ still finds you concentrating on the conversation and not your driving.
“We have to do better.
“Speed, drowsy driving, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, inclement weather, and driver inexperience are the most significant factors in these rash of fatalities.
“We need to slow down, especially when the roads are wet, icy or at night. It’s amazing how much we can see when we slow down.
“Buckle up. Your odds of surviving and reducing injuries greatly increase with a seat belt.
“Go home safe.
“Watch out for the car that’s behind you and the car that’s in front of you.
What do you think about Gillum’s opinion piece? Let us know in the comments.