Editorial

It's still up to us to drive safely

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Stories about GMs decision to lay off 14,000 employees and possibly close five factories sometimes included the statement that the action was taken so the company could concentrate on new electric and self-driving cars.

Thats despite the news that the all-electric Volt was one of the models the company planned to stop producing.

Many new cars come with lane-keeping and auto-braking features, and widespread use of self-driving cars is probably closer than most of us realize.

Texting and talking are dangerous activities for todays drivers, well leave it to others to find ways to deal with drinking and, ahem, other activities in self-driving cars.

For now, however, the old rules still apply, and drivers had best be on top of their game when they take to the road for the rest of the holiday season.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, Nebraska State Troopers took 16 impaired drivers off the road and issued more than 500 speeding tickets as well as assisting hundreds of motorists stranded by blizzard conditions Sunday morning.

The Click It or Ticket campaign was made possible in part by a grant for $20,000 from the Nebraska Department of Transportation Highway Safety Office.

A projected record numbers of travelers, along with a winter storm that blanketed much of the state on Sunday, made for an eventful weekend for our troopers, said Col. John Bolduc, Nebraska State Patrol superintendent. Im incredibly proud of the effort by our troopers and dispatchers this weekend, and thankful that many drivers planned ahead and were able to stay off the roads on Sunday.

During the enforcement, which ran from Wednesday through Sunday, troopers arrested 15 people for driving under the influence of alcohol and 1 for driving under the influence of drugs. In addition to those arrests, troopers issued citations for speeding (506), driving under suspension (35), no proof of insurance (33), minor in possession (5), open container (7), no seat belt (30), and improper child restraint (4).

Troopers also assisted 267 motorists in need of help, arrested 47 people for possession of drugs, and apprehended 9 fugitives.

The enforcement included vehicle checks, high visibility and saturation patrols, as well as regular enforcement efforts.

America tried ignition interlocks for seatbelts back in 1974, and there was such an uproar that they were discontinued after one year. Theyre still around as an option for those convicted of driving while drunk, however, only allowing operation of a vehicle if the driver proves to the machine hed not under the influence.

Are people so used to technology they might tolerate seat-belt interlocks if it were tried again? Its something to consider.

Until robot-controlled transportation takes over completely, however, its up to the human occupants of vehicles to operate them safely, or face the consequences.

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