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Media commentator argues for more acute focus on reckless driving

A writer in a recent opinion piece for a national newspaper advances an opinion that might strongly resonate with a good many Ohio and other readers across the country.

What doctor/author Barron H. Lerner says, based upon both close observation and a devastating accident outcome within his family, is that reckless driving "is poorly defined in the law, sometimes poorly investigated by police and almost never results in a criminal charge."

That needs to change, he says, given the likelihood that reckless driving results in car accidents at a rate higher than what is typically acknowledged as being the case.

Lerner points back to a time -- not that far in the distant past -- when drunk drivers across the country were often given a free ride for their actions, even when DUI-related behaviors directly resulted in crashes and injuries to others. He notes that, ironically, crashes were routinely termed as "accidents" for many years, thus diminishing the notion of liability for inebriated motorists.

Over time, public thinking changed, of course. Lerner notes the "sea change" of activism in recent decades that brought about nationally uniform and tougher DUI laws, as well as the common public perception that drunk driving is a serious criminal activity rather than mere "youthful folly."

He says that a similar change in perception needs to grow in the public's attitude toward reckless driving behaviors. He cites statistics from New York City that can likely be extrapolated across the country to some degree. In that metropolis alone, taxi drivers reportedly killed or injured pedestrians at least 21 times within the past five years. A criminal charge was filed in only one of those instances.

Lerner knows personally of what he speaks. Tragically, his young nephew died in New York City last month after being hit by a taxi while crossing a street.

Source: New York Times, " Treat reckless driving like drunk driving," Barron H. Lerner, Jan. 24, 2014

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