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Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes

Updated May 19, 2014 - 3:21 pm

Wrong-way crash deaths used as a political platform? It’s disgraceful

Well that didn’t take long.

Three wrong-way driver fatal accidents in one week have left people asking “what can be done?” Seven deaths directly attributed to people (most likely impaired) barreling toward oncoming traffic, and in each case, killing innocent people following the traffic laws.

In the wake of these tragedies, I’ve heard talk of devices to disable cars entering freeways in the wrong direction, technology that slows or stops vehicles if they are in the wrong lanes and better use of the overhead freeways signs. All seem like a good start and worthy of discussion

But on Sunday, when law enforcement and transportation officials got together for an emergency meeting, they predictably took this crisis as an opportunity to score political points and make it about the state’s budget issues. Which brings me to this famous quote:

“To a carpenter with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.”

Roger Vanderpool, former DPS director, apparently knows how to stop cars traveling 70 mph in the wrong direction on Valley freeways. You guessed it, more money for DPS.

“We lost a lot of officers due to budget cuts over the past several years and I think getting agencies back up to strength is a huge way to deal with combating it.”

This statement comes after the third wrong-way driver crash early Sunday morning when by the police’s own account they had eight law enforcement vehicles attempting to stop this driver. If eight isn’t enough Mr. Vanderpool, how many are? Nine? Twelve? Sixty four?

Add to it the admission by law enforcement that they don’t have a protocol or system for dealing with these incidents and I fail to see what the number of officers on duty has to do with it other than more people to clean up the accident after it happens.

Unless Vanderpool is suggesting placing a DPS patrol car on every freeway off-ramp 24/7 to stop possible wrong way drivers before they enter the road, stop using the lives of these victims to argue for more funding. It’s disgraceful.


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