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Police agencies doing their part to enforce laws during travel times

With the Thanksgiving holiday travel period now in the rear-view mirror, it's an appropriate time to express appreciation and gratitude to the law-enforcement officers who worked throughout the long weekend to ensure that roads and highways were as safe as they can possibly be.

As usual during a peak travel time such as Thanksgiving, Indiana State Police troopers put extra time into patrolling busy byways. Operation CARE, a federally funded project, puts those troopers on the roads to watch closely for moving violations, dangerous and impaired drivers and those who don't abide by seat belt laws.

Statistics are not yet in for this past weekend, but in 2018, 12 fatal crashes occurred in the state during the holiday period. Because of incidents such as those, law enforcement must remain vigilant in order to try to prevent as many of these tragedies as possible.

Drunk driving is a year-round problem, of course. Holiday periods when celebrations take place are particularly susceptible to serious traffic crashes

And it's been happening for far too long.

We hope you had the opportunity to read the poignant letter to the editor in our Readers' Forum on Friday from Bob and Jerry Lybarger, who lost their parents, Herschel and Marjory Lybarger of Brazil, in a crash on U.S. 40 in Clay County 30 years ago during the Thanksgiving weekend. The crash was caused by a drunk driver.

The letter was written in memory of the victims, but also to remind everyone that today, the same dangers remain and the scourge of drunk driving continues to be a threat.

The Lybargers quoted the sad statistics:

"According to information for 2017, 220 Hoosiers died as a result of alcohol-impaired driving (NHTSA, FARS 10/18). Nationally, 10,874 people died that year from alcohol–impaired driving," the Lybargers' reads. "There has been improvement in these statistics in the last 30 years, but even one drunk driving death is one too many. We pray that your family is never included in these statistics."

The next holiday travel period — Christmas 2019 — is approaching. The need to stay on guard is ever present.

We commend law enforcement agencies for their continued efforts to make our highways safe. And we implore motorists to follow the rules of the road and remain courteous, respectful and responsible behind the steering wheel.

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