New school year begins; traffic scofflaws abound
Tuesday begins the new school year for more than 6,000 West Haven children, either in public, private, parochial or home-school settings. For those going to local schools in West Haven or elsewhere, the majority will be transported via bus. Traffic safety, then, is paramount for those going to and from work.
This might be your run-of-the-mill “look out for pedestrians” comment, except we’ve noted an marked increase in people disregarding traffic signs, traffic lights, and other means of keeping traffic in order, including speeding. With children added to the mix of people in the pedestrian pool, the chances for serious accidents increase dramatically.
Over the last several weeks we have noticed that drivers blow through Stop signs at four-way or three-way stops, especially if they see other cars slowing to stop. Go to any major thoroughfare in West Haven or elsewhere, and people are, more and more, disregarding and going through stop lights at unimaginable rates. It is almost as if the traffic rules are for everyone else.
Last year, several drivers were cited for passing school buses displaying flashing lights. But one could witness this almost any morning along the city’s main drags. While there were many fined for their actions, many more got away with it. We see the new school year and the increasing disregard for traffic regulations as a dangerous mix that could only end in disaster.
Drivers have to be aware that with school starting, they may have to leave a few minutes earlier if they do not want to get stranded behind a school bus. But if they are behind that bus, they have to follow the safety regulations. No one wants an “If I only” moment.
Drivers who disregard stop signs are playing with danger, and will find themselves on the business end of a ticket or worse – maybe not this time, but somewhere in the future.
If you think we are genuinely concerned with this increased lawlessness – for that is what it truly is – you are right. Open disregard for the rule of law in the matter of driving, bespeaks a bigger, more insidious problem, one we see in society at-large: laws are subject to the individual. That is a dangerous notion.
School starts next week. We hope that nothing happens that will seriously alter the course of anyone’s life, young or old. Planning ahead, following the rules, and keeping a cool head will help it be a safe year for all.