Summer is rapidly approaching and I would like to urge all of our citizens to think of safety while enjoying all of the activities summer.
Each year during this time, those of us in public safety work far too many tragedies, due to alcohol, unsafe driving, boating, or other activities.
The number rule is remember, "SAFETY IS A PLAN, IT IS NOT AN ACCIDENT". If you don't have a plan to be safe, you will not be. There is no guarantee that you will arrive at your destination if you don't drive safely. Driving takes your full time and attention! It is not only illegal to text and drive, it also is not safe to do so. If you just think, driving in a courteous manner, being considerate of other drivers, letting them know what you plan to do, as in signaling turns, you will also be a legal driver. All driver laws are based on driving with consideration of others that are sharing the road with you. Anytime two vehicles hit each other, there is a traffic violation. Rules of the road will keep you safer, only if you obey them.
Alcohol is never part of a safety plan. Each day in Kansas 61 people are injured and 3 die from drunk drivers. America kills 30,000 to 40,000 each year in alcohol related accidents and each one of them could have been prevented! Please, if drinking is part of your holiday plans, have a safety plan for your vehicle and the occupants of that vehicle. Plan ahead, make sure whoever is driving is: 1. Not drinking and 2. Experienced.
Seat belts safe lives! That is a fact, not an opinion. In over 22 years of law enforcement I have never worked an accident where a seat belt caused the death. However, I have lost track of those I have worked, where not wearing a seat belt directly contributed to the death or deaths.
Each time I work a fatality accident, I stand and think, "this individual or individuals had no idea the line of death on this road was right here! If they had realized that they could have taken measures to stop or go around it. That is what your plan of safety will do for you. Remember the driver you are meeting very well is texting, driving, drinking, asleep, or just not paying attention and will come into your lane, or not stop at that stop sign. What is your plan when that happens. If you are not anticipating that action you will not be able to avoid the accident. You cannot take your eyes off the other driver, and cannot count on being safe until you both have safely met each other and are on your own way.
Protect your property and valuables. Remember as the weather warms up and the days get longer, thieves also work longer hours. Only you can protect your property and valuables. Law enforcement can take reports of your stolen items, hopefully recover them and arrest those responsible, but there is still a loss. You can pursue any option you want before the theft and I would encourage you to do so. Remember, all it takes for a crime to occur is three things: 1. A suspect 2. A victim and 3. An opportunity. Remove any of those categories and a crime cannot happen. Usually when you are the victim of a theft, you provided the opportunity, either by failing to use a lock, put it out of sight, leave someone with it, etc. If you try to prevent a theft most of the time you will be successful. I've rarely worked a burglary where someone broke in. Most of the time they just stopped and picked it up or walked in and got it. Locks are the simplest and most successful deterrent to stopping a criminal act.
We at the Pratt County Sheriff's Office wish each of you a safe and enjoyable summer and urge you to think of safety whether enjoying a holiday, vacation, or normal day to day activities.