WTVM Editorial 1-28-20: Get tough on reckless drivers

Updated: Jan. 28, 2020 at 9:32 AM EST
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(WTVM) - Last May 25th was a tragic day for the family of revered Auburn sports announcer Rod Bramblett and his wife, Paula, who were killed when a car plowed into them at a high rate of speed.

Police estimate that vehicle was going nearly 90 miles an hour when it rear-ended the Bramblett’s SUV. In July, a 16-year-old was charged with manslaughter for the Brambletts’ deaths.

Behind this sad story is a question for all of us about how our traffic laws are enforced.

After the suspect was arrested last summer, he was released on bond. Between then and December police cited him for driving recklessly on multiple occasions. His bail was finally revoked, and he landed back in the Lee County jail.

How is it that any driver, accused in connection with a fatal crash, is allowed even one citation for reckless driving, without having his bail immediately revoked?

The court system will handle the Bramblett case and the accused driver deserves a fair trial.

Regardless of that case, reckless driving of any kind should never be allowed to become a pattern of behavior for drivers in Auburn or anywhere.

Alabama traffic law says a driver’s license can be suspended after a second reckless driving citation. In Georgia, any driver under 21 gets an automatic six-month suspension if caught driving recklessly.

But reckless behavior behind the wheel is a charge that is often reduced later.

Reckless driving can be a lot of things: excessive speed, distraction, tailgating, failure to obey traffic rules, actions that put other people at risk.

There is no one set standard for what constitutes reckless driving and police officers can often use their judgment, as to the severity.

But it only seems to make sense, that for most ordinary definitions of reckless driving, law enforcement needs to get tougher.

No driver should be able to rack up multiple such offenses.

Cracking down at the very first opportunity on obviously dangerous driving - and the bad decisions that create it - would likely help save lives in the long run.

General Manager Holly Steuart brings an editorial a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee

1909 Wynnton Road

Columbus, GA 31906

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