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Safety, a community responsibility

By Bobby Tingle

Considering the safety of others is a community responsibility. An activity that is fairly common to many is getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle to drive from one location to another. The number of wheels, size of the vehicle or speed potential of the vehicle are irrelevant to the duty the driver assumes when operating a vehicle. Safety of self, passengers and others must always be a top priority.

For many years one of the hats I wore was safety coordinator at work. Each year we partook of driver safety training. This annual ritual reminded me of how often I took safety for granted.

Many items related to safety are regulated such as speed limits and wearing a seat belt. When you get caught over the limit or unbuckled you pay. Then there are the extremes of driving impaired. Your performance and judgment behind the wheel deteriorate substantially when driving drowsy or under the influence of a substance. These cases speak for themselves.

Distracted or aggressive driving pricked my conscience the most. Aggressive driving includes following too closely, passing on the right and generally feeling like everyone else is in your way. Impatience or intolerance of others can even escalate to road rage. Distracted drivers are those talking on their phone, overly interacting with passengers or tending to unsecured items in their car. Texting or engaging in your favorite social media while behind the wheel must be avoided.

Have I hit a nerve? Consider others more than yourself when you assume command of a vehicle. In light of recent tragic events, now is a good time to remind ourselves of the duty to others we all must assume when behind the wheel.

Bobby Tingle is publisher of The Orange Leader. He can be reached at bobby.tingle@orangeleader.com