Safety Is Important when It Is Personal: Taking a Leadership Role in Highway Safety

Nearly every state trooper, police officer, deputy sheriff, and constable has arrived on the scene of a tragic motor vehicle crash and been personally changed forever.

In 1987, not long after graduating from the Ohio State Highway Patrol academy, I arrived at my first horrific head-on crash that killed two young college students and critically injured seven others. Both of the young ladies killed, Kimberly and Deanna, weren’t much younger than I was and had attended the same university from which I had graduated. No chance of graduation, no first job, no marriage, no children, and no future life-enriching experiences would be possible for them. My thoughts turned to the unfortunate families I would need to notify. It was at that moment in time, I knew I needed to do more to prevent crashes like that one from happening again. It is that personal experience of being on scene and more importantly in the right place at the right time on the road before a crash occurs, that provides a unique ability for law enforcement agencies to take a greater leadership role in highway safety.