Editorial: Safety is paramount

Anyone age 30 or older knows that kids are boneheads sometimes, particularly when a bunch of them are piled into a moving car and are plastered with drugs or alcohol or both. The result, too often, is a mixture of mangled metal, blood, gore and heartache, a totally senseless loss of life.

Hats off to state Rep. Kathy Watson, a Bucks County Republican who steered legislation to Gov. Tom Corbett’s desk that cracks down on teenage stupidity.

Dubbed Lacey’s Law in memory of Little Flower High School senior Lacey Gallagher — who was killed in a post-senior prom 2007 car crash in which she was one of seven occupants of one vehicle — the legislation will limit the number of passengers that young drivers can have, require all drivers and passengers under age 18 to wear seat belts, and beef up training for young drivers.

Drugs and alcohol were not factors in Lacey’s death, but seat belts were. None of the occupants of the car were wearing them. While Lacey was the only one to perish in the accident, how many similar tragedies have taken place over the years? How many others will be prevented once Rep. Watson’s legislation goes into effect? If the law is enforced promptly and vigorously, we’ll probably never know the answer, and that’s a good thing. No bad news is always good news when it comes to traffic safety.

Still, why did it take so long for Pennsylvania to pass Rep. Watson’s common-sense measures? And why not extend the seat-belt requirement across the board by making failure to buckle up a primary offense for drivers and passengers of all ages — not just the youngest drivers. Isn’t life precious? ••

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