Don’t be selfish, be selfless

By Cpl. Jordan Couturier 

Throughout the brief 11 years of my career in law enforcement I have witnessed the good, bad, and the ugly sides of traffic safety. Whether it was injury, fatality or no harm at all, each crash gave testament to a predictable denominator in each unfortunate incident:  failed human responsibility.
Obviously we cannot foresee when these crashes will occur. However, we certainly know they will occur and it is only a matter of when it will happen. Even though humans are intricately designed living organisms, capable of the most amazing feats, we fail at the most simple tasks. 
Crashes are preventable incidents.  Sure, there are examples of cataclysmic events or sudden mechanical failure. But, the vast majority of crashes occur because a person is failing to complete a task. No one intends to be involved in a crash. They might feel they are the safest driver on the roadway. 
But what about the other driver thinking they can make up time while running a little late for a meeting?  Or the driver following closer than usual behind a vehicle moving at a seemingly snail like pace?  And of course, there is the driver who quickly glances now and then at their phone just to make sure nothing else is happening in the world?  But, they aren’t you right? You’re the safest driver on the street.
So what is the problem then?  What is the predictable denominator?  Them?  The other drivers?  Guess again.  It is you. It is us. Frankly, we humans are selfish.  We are more concerned about our own little driving world that we willingly cut corners and push the envelope while setting aside the common sense rules of the road. What do you think would happen if we all cared a lot less about ourselves and cared a little more about the motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians sharing our traffic ways? It definitely would not be a perfect world, but I would bet each one of us would be a lot safer on the roadways.   
So, how did I get to this conclusion? Possibly it was the teenage boy thrown over 60 feet from his bicycle after being struck by a vehicle while attempting to cross a four-lane city street. Maybe it was the drunk parents colliding with trees and vehicles with their kids seated in the back. Perhaps it was the pregnant mother walking the shorter route across the street and meeting the front bumper of a passing motorist. Or maybe it has been the hundreds of other crashes I have responded to where someone needed to get somewhere fast and in a hurry, distracted themselves with anything other than driving their several thousand pound vehicle, and ignored the basic rules of driving. 
What do they all have in common?  You. You are the drivers, the pedestrians, and the cyclists.  It begins and ends with you. No more excuses. Choose to be responsible for your own safety and those around you. Make the conscious decision to care more about the people affected by your traffic safety practices. Don’t be selfish. Be selfless.   

Cpl. Jordan Couturier is with the City of Leawood Police Department



  1. Anonymous10/05/2016

    Those are such horrible things that you've had to deal with - seeing kids hurt must be awful. Thank you for your service and a good safety reminder.

  2. Anonymous10/05/2016

    That is really true that no one intends to be in a crash. No matter how good a driver you are, there are situations you are not in control of. In the past 10 years, I've been hit once while stopped waiting for the person in front of me to turn and once while stopped at a red light. People need to work together on the roadways to be safe.

  3. Now you are hitting close to home. I certainly can relate, especially when you don’t give yourself enough time to get to an appointment or event and are hurried. That in itself is a form of distraction that narrows your focus in a selfish way. If we could all could be a little more selfless as you noted, traveling the roads would be safer.

  4. Anonymous10/06/2016

    Thanks for reminding us that we aren't as perfect as we all pretend to be. Slow down and pay attention to those around, sounds like the golden rule for drivers.

  5. Anonymous10/06/2016

    Thank you for sharing your experiences as a law enforcement officer. Unfortunately few drivers fall in the category of being a safe driver all the time. Changes in driving habits are hard to make, let's hope those who read your blog will think about consequences, will make a change and also share your story with others. I plan to.

    Larry Emig