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LETTER: Obey traffic cones to keep everyone safe

To the Editor:

As a police officer of 20 years, I have been to countless traffic accidents. The first responsibility of responding police officers is protection/safety of the vehicle’s occupants. From this, we set up traffic cones to divert traffic away from the accident scene. If it is an injury accident, others arrive on scene — an ambulance with medics, a fire engine with firemen and, at some point, a tow truck or two. All these people need protection from the motoring public so they can get their jobs done.

When you are driving and there are traffic cones blocking your lane of traffic and you can see many vehicles with red/blue emergency lights on, it means you cannot go down that road. It does not mean you can drive into the oncoming traffic lane and go around the cones.

By doing this, you become one more problem the officers, medics and firefighters have to deal with. You may also wreck evidence needed to determine the cause of the crash. If your family members were in a serious car crash, would you want someone carelessly driving into the accident scene, possibly to reinjure them or one of the public safety employees?

As a police officer on that scene, my priority is the safety of those injured or involved in the incident. Take the time to drive two or three extra blocks to your appointment. It will take you a few more moments to get there, but better safe than having carelessly rushed around a road block and injuring someone.

In the last two weeks, I have had people drive around traffic cones right at the accident scene, putting in harm’s way many people. These people in the car crash believe they are safe in the coned area, as traffic is shut down to protect them. They are not expecting someone else to drive into them. You endanger other people by not taking the time to slow down and assess what is happening ahead of you or how your decision will affect those beyond the traffic cones.

Please help us keep our community safe.