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Vehicles are everywhere, buzzing up and down the loop, slowing to pick up children at school, ducking in and out of parking lots to grab lunch or groceries.

While we hate to report on any fatality, our job is the news, what is going on in the community, good and bad.

A fatal wreck this week got several comments on the paper’s Facebook page, with some people saying the paper shouldn’t run photos of the wreck or even report on the fatality at all. They called it disrespectful to the tragedy the family is going through, and they said the photos traumatize family members all over again. Others on the post said that if the photo makes even one person rethink how fast they are going, then the photos should be posted as a warning to all careless drivers.

The latter is our camp of thought.

No one knows when a tragedy might occur. Someone could fall asleep behind the wheel. Another person might be talking on a cellphone. And still another person might decide after a couple of beers he or she is OK to drive and get behind the wheel.

All of these kinds of wrecks are preventable.

While we sympathize with the families who have lost someone to these kinds of tragedies, we firmly believe that raising awareness helps other drivers and potential drivers.

As awful as they are, seeing a photo of a recent wreck can push someone to think about what they are doing and the consequences of it. Parents may hold up the paper to their teenager who just got his learner’s permit and say, “See what can happen? Be careful when you are on the road. Pay attention.”

Defensive driving teaches people to observe and think about what the other vehicles are doing, not just assuming that everyone is following the rules of the road.

Wreck photos, while not pleasant, cause people to think about what they are doing on the road, and maybe, just maybe, stop one person from making a big mistake they can’t take back.

A couple of beers are not fine when you get behind the wheel.

Put the cellphone down when you are on the road because that text or call can wait.

If you’re feeling sleepy while driving, pull over and take a nap or call someone else to come get you.

The goal is for all drivers in Lamar County to make it home safely.

Kim Cox

The Paris News Editorial Board publishes editorials on topics of local relevance every Wednesday and Sunday.

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