The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

January 15, 2013

Highway safety

The Register-Herald

— Lots of people cringe or mutter under their breath when they travel the roadways and either see a police officer patrolling or the flashing lights are on and someone is pulled over.

But the real fact of the matter is that members of law enforcement are out there trying to improve the safety on our highways.

In southern West Virginia the commitment by police agencies to get drunk and/or impaired drivers, and other violators, off our roads is a strong one; in fact, according to the Governor’s Highway Safety Program we are tops in the state.

We strongly suspect that every area of the state is confronted with a fairly equitable mix when it comes to motor vehicle violations, yet it is our firm belief that around these parts our law enforcement officers make it a priority to address trouble on the roads.

We should all be thankful to have police officers around like Beckley Police Sgt. Frankie Shelton and Raleigh County Deputy Sheriff Jason Redden, who ranked second and third statewide last year in DUI arrests, patrolling. They, along with dozens of other officers who take to the roads every day, are doing their best to save lives.

Last year there were more than 3,500 DUI arrests in West Virginia. The problem is significant but law enforcement, with the assistance of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, is cracking down.

They are also targeting those driving while suspended or revoked, those running red lights and stop signs, those not wearing seatbelts and as we will come to see, those who text or talk on handheld phone devices.

Police have many duties and safeguarding our roads is a major one.

So the next time you see them on patrol or making a traffic stop, instead of turning up your nose, think about the commitment they have made to making highways a truly safer place and give them a nod of acknowledgment instead.