Editorial: It only takes seconds to cause a fatal crash

Published 9:45 pm Thursday, September 14, 2017

The modern daily working police uniform bears little resemblance to those on old television shows such as “Adam-12,” “Dragnet” and “CHiPs.” With the tactical body armor, body cameras and belts and vests full of other gear, the uniforms tend to take on the toughness of “S.W.A.T.”

Yet, beneath the gear or behind the lionization by TV of police, these men and women share our humanity, our mortality.

Minnesota had a stark reminder of that a week ago when Wayzata Police Officer William Mathews was struck and killed last Friday by a distracted driver while he was clearing debris from a highway.

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Mathews was laid to rest Thursday in a procession attended by hundreds of law enforcement officers from Minnesota and across the country.

Unquestionably, this was a preventable tragedy and we urge all drivers to remember when the impulse comes to send a text while driving, or to read one.

“Each year in Minnesota, distracted or inattentive driving is a factor in one in four crashes, resulting in at least 70 deaths and 350 serious injuries,” according to the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety website. “OTS estimates these numbers are vastly underreported due to law enforcement’s challenge in determining distraction as a crash factor.”

We encourage anyone on the road to remember these numbers as you are out and about in the community.

It only takes seconds to cause a death.