Editorial: Safety is paramount

Any­one age 30 or older knows that kids are bone­heads some­times, par­tic­u­larly when a bunch of them are piled in­to a mov­ing car and are plastered with drugs or al­co­hol or both. The res­ult, too of­ten, is a mix­ture of mangled met­al, blood, gore and heartache, a totally sense­less loss of life.

Hats off to state Rep. Kathy Wat­son, a Bucks County Re­pub­lic­an who steered le­gis­la­tion to Gov. Tom Corbett’s desk that cracks down on teen­age stu­pid­ity.

Dubbed Lacey’s Law in memory of Little Flower High School seni­or Lacey Galla­gh­er — who was killed in a post-seni­or prom 2007 car crash in which she was one of sev­en oc­cu­pants of one vehicle — the le­gis­la­tion will lim­it the num­ber of pas­sen­gers that young drivers can have, re­quire all drivers and pas­sen­gers un­der age 18 to wear seat belts, and beef up train­ing for young drivers.

Drugs and al­co­hol were not factors in Lacey’s death, but seat belts were. None of the oc­cu­pants of the car were wear­ing them. While Lacey was the only one to per­ish in the ac­ci­dent, how many sim­il­ar tra­gedies have taken place over the years? How many oth­ers will be pre­ven­ted once Rep. Wat­son’s le­gis­la­tion goes in­to ef­fect? If the law is en­forced promptly and vig­or­ously, we’ll prob­ably nev­er know the an­swer, and that’s a good thing. No bad news is al­ways good news when it comes to traffic safety.

Still, why did it take so long for Pennsylvania to pass Rep. Wat­son’s com­mon-sense meas­ures? And why not ex­tend the seat-belt re­quire­ment across the board by mak­ing fail­ure to buckle up a primary of­fense for drivers and pas­sen­gers of all ages — not just the young­est drivers. Isn’t life pre­cious? ••

Send let­ters to: pronews@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at staff@bsmphilly.com.

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