So far this year, more than two dozen Illinois State Police cars and SUVs have been in crashes that could've been avoided by other drivers paying attention or following Scott's Law.
Twenty-six occurrences, to be precise. We won't call them accidents, because they were certainly avoidable by anyone who bothered to pay attention to the bright red, blue and yellow flashing lights, the multiple vehicles on the side of the road, or any sort of common sense required to pass an Illinois driver's test.
Yet, it continues. Illinois lost three troopers this year to inattentive drivers and others were injured.
It's not just state police troopers involved in such accidents. Firefighters, rescue workers, city and county officers and tow-truck operators all have fallen victim to people texting while driving, failing to move over for emergency vehicles with their lights on, drunk or drugged driving, speeding or other inattentive behaviors.
If that's not enough, daylight now ends earlier in the day and cooler temperatures mean wet roads freeze quickly with black ice, another danger.
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Our emergency personnel put themselves in harm's way every time they go to work. They could be shot, die in a roof collapse, attacked by a suspect or otherwise injured. There's no need for them — or any of us, for that matter — to be put in harm's way by someone who shouldn't be behind the wheel or who pays little attention to what's going on outside their car.
Driving is a privilege. Staying alive is a right.
If you're driving too fast or paying more attention to your texts or french fries than your steering wheel, get off the road. Hitch a ride on a train, bus, Uber or Lyft, let someone else drive, or ride a bike or walk.
Don't keep killing and hurting our emergency workers who are working to keep the rest of us safe.