Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Opinion

February 7, 2014

Funeral precautions appreciated, but drivers must be alert

GLASGOW — In the weeks since 69-year-old Delmar Lloyd was killed in a tragic collision during a funeral procession in Glasgow, how many of us have paused for processions a little more anxiously than we did before? How many of us began to view the events not only as demonstrations of respect for the families and friends of the deceased, but as potentially perilous situations?

The fatal wreck Jan. 22 at the intersection of U.S. 68-Ky. 80 East and Veterans Outer Loop was startling partly because it was unusual, and partly because it forced many of us to consider – perhaps for the first time – that even under police escort, it’s extremely dangerous whenever the flow of traffic contradicts posted signs or signals.

That’s why we were glad to learn that the Barren County Sheriff’s Office has reached out to area volunteer fire departments for help blocking intersections and controlling traffic during funeral processions, at least when circumstances warrant and when personnel is available. We understand it’s impossible for safety officials to cover every intersection during every procession every day, and we recognize there are no regulations concerning the security of intersections during processions.

Considering public agencies aren’t required to do anything, it’s heartening to see the sheriff’s office and the VFDs take this step, because it’s in the public’s best interest. A fire truck parked in the middle of the road will, we hope, draw the attention of drivers who might otherwise misinterpret the status of the intersection.

It begs emphasis, however, that what these agencies are doing is a courtesy. It is not their responsibility, at least legally. Responsibility in all driving scenarios is borne by drivers, and the fact that the BCSO and the VFDs are making an effort to be more visible during processions should not lead drivers to be less cautious, alert or defensive.

In fact, we hope drivers follow the example set by these agencies by making a commitment to being even more aware. Emergency officials aren’t everywhere a collision might occur, but drivers are. Ultimately, the safety of our roads depends almost entirely on ourselves.

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