To Our Elected Officials
The men and women elected to office must understand the severity of the situation
To our elected officials here in New York and throughout the United States,
We (meaning your constituents) elect you based on the promises you make. We also elect you to represent us, our needs and concerns. Those needs and concerns encompass elected officials proposing legislation and inevitably working that legislation through committees and on to the full legislative body for a vote to become law.
Here in New York as with the rest of the country there is an epidemic that is spreading unchecked, and at an alarming rate. This epidemic is not a disease; but a plague of ILLEGAL DRIVERS. These people make a conscience choice to get behind the wheel of a car or truck and drive, even though their privilege to do so has been taken away or never granted in the first place. It has been proven repeatedly that individuals whose license has been suspended / revoked for reckless driving or showing a complete disregard for the rules of the road are a danger to every person on the road. Depending on the state these drivers are responsible for crashes resulting injury or death in one to two out of every five crashes.
These numbers are difficult to be accurate with, due to the fact that accident reports do not indicate the status of the operator's license as a field on the report. If you read through an accident report you may discover that an operator was issued a summons for being unlicensed or having a suspended / revoked license. This probably has to do with the fact that in most states if a person driving with no license or a suspended / revoked license and causes a crash that results in injury or death it is not vehicular assault or manslaughter simply because the operator's license is non-existent or been suspended / revoked. Another issue that needs to be addressed by our elected officials is blood toxicology testing at the scene of crashes resulting in injury or death.
We hear constantly about drunk drivers involved in crashes, this is because alcohol is easy to test for with a breathalyzer. Drugs on the other hand can only be checked by testing blood, urine, or saliva. Presently here in New York unless the police find the drugs (and that depends on the officer) or paraphernalia for drugs they must get a court order to test any of the above mentioned bodily fluids. It needs to be made mandatory that anyone operating a vehicle and involved in a crash resulting in injury or death must submit to a toxicology test. It is mandatory for the medical examiner to test a person that was killed in a crash, so why not the other operator(s)?
The legislators in New York and every other state in this country must see these drivers for what they are, "A DANGER TO EVERY LAW ABIDING CITIZEN ON THE ROAD" It must be realized that these people are making a conscience choice of getting into a vehicle and driving recklessly, and with total disregard for others. They are doing nothing different than what they did to cause them to lose their license.
The issue of dangerous drivers is no less urgent of the attention of all our elected officials. These people get behind the wheel of their vehicle and have no intentions of obeying any of the laws that are meant to make our roads safe. We all see them everyday, driving and putting on make-up, talking on cell phones, texting, reading newspapers, bent over searching for something they dropped, and the list goes on and on. These people are responsible for the rise of a new term DISTRACTED DRIVING, and this is a huge problem.
The majority of these drivers while busy taking care of their very important tasks are usually not paying much attention to their speed, or whether they are still in their proper lane. They do not see the STOP signs, and red lights that they are about to run through. They also do not see the other vehicle or the pedestrian they are about to hit. Many of the distractions these drivers are involved in are very difficult for law enforcement to do anything about. In order for the police to stop someone and issue them a summons, the police must see the person commit an illegal act. When someone is texting, or sending an email from their laptop the officer cannot see the device they are using. The other issue is that in the states that do have laws about texting while driving almost all of the laws are not primary laws.
This means that an officer cannot pull someone over because they believe this person is texting. They would have to stop them for speeding, failure to signal, or any other primary violation, and than during that stop they can issue a summons for texting while driving.
Our elected officials need to look at the severity of the crashes these people cause and realize that what ever it is that is distracting them needs to be a primary violation so the police can possibly pull them over and stop them before they have a chance to effect innocent people.