Road rage death is hor­ri­fy­ing extreme of ag­gres­sive driv­ing

The Kutztown Area Patriot - - OPINION -

The death of 18-year-old Bianca Rober­son of West Ch­ester in a road rage shoot­ing on Route 100 in West Goshen shocked the re­gion and gained na­tional at­ten­tion as a man­hunt en­sued for the driver of a red pickup seen speed­ing away as Rober­son’s ve­hi­cle crashed.

Last Sun­day, Ch­ester County District At­tor­ney Tom Ho­gan an­nounced the ar­rest and first-de­gree mur­der charges against David Des­per, 28, of Trainer, Delaware County.

Ho­gan said nu­mer­ous tips from the pub­lic led first to the red pickup truck that was the sub­ject of a na­tion­wide search, then to the gun linked to the shoot­ing of Rober­son, and then to the sus­pect.

Des­per faces charges of first- and third-de­gree mur­der, pos­ses­sion of an in­stru­ment of crime with in­tent, and reck­lessly en­dan­ger­ing an­other per­son.

Call­ing the shoot­ing a “sav­age, bru­tal act,” Ho­gan said Rober­son was on her way home from shop­ping when she was do­ing the “ex­act same thing that all of us do ev­ery day — merg­ing safely,” in this case at the .1-mile marker of the Route 100 By­pass at Route 202, when she en­coun­tered the sus­pect.

“They jock­eyed for po­si­tion, and he wasn’t happy, so he pulled out a gun and shot Bianca in the head, killing her in­stantly,” Ho­gan said.

Rober­son had just grad­u­ated from Rustin High School and was plan­ning to at­tend Jack­sonville Univer­sity in the fall to study psy­chol­ogy.

The hor­ri­fy­ing cir­cum­stances of Rober­son’s death take to an extreme the ag­gres­sive driv­ing that oc­curs ev­ery day on high­ways in this re­gion.

Ev­ery driver has ex­pe­ri­enced near-brushes with tragedy, some caused by our own care­less­ness or bad habits, oth­ers caused by an­other driver fail­ing to ad­here to the laws of the road.

The no­tion of point­ing a gun at a young woman’s head shocks our senses, but in re­al­ity, driv­ers’ rash be­hav­ior and poor de­ci­sions threaten lives ev­ery day. Con­sider: The word “Yield” means giv­ing the right of way to the other driver; it does not mean cut­ting off an­other ve­hi­cle to force that driver to yield to you.

A yel­low light is the sig­nal to pre­pare to stop, not the sig­nal to speed up and get through the in­ter­sec­tion just as an­other car is start­ing to cross.

In fact, a yel­low light is not the sig­nal for the next three cars to speed up, the fi­nal two of them driv­ing through a red light.

When did a speed limit be­come a sug­ges­tion for the bot­tom end of 15-mile-per­hour win­dow? If a speed limit on a high­way is 55 mph, driv­ers are go­ing 70; if the limit is 65 mph, driv­ers are go­ing 80.

Stop signs? Who needs them? Same with turn sig­nals.

And, when did it be­come le­gal to turn left in front of an ap­proach­ing car at an in­ter­sec­tion and then wave as if ac­knowl­edg­ing thanks for be­ing given a right-of-way?

Cars and trucks are not the only of­fend­ers.

The su­per-charged cy­cles swerve down the mid­dle of the high­way, de­fy­ing laws and driv­ers, at speeds ap­proach­ing 100 miles an hour. Why? Be­cause they can. The re­al­ity is that with each day, th­ese vi­o­la­tions be­come more com­mon.

The prob­lem goes be­yond the har­ried com­muter try­ing to get to work or school on time.

Ag­gres­sive driv­ing is just as preva­lent on a Satur­day af­ter­noon among shop­pers and par­ents tak­ing their chil­dren to soccer games.

Po­lice sit in their cruis­ers on the side streets to ticket driv­ers go­ing 40 miles per hour in a 25 mph zone, but are rarely seen en­forc­ing the con­struc­tion zones where driv­ers dan­ger­ously go 20 miles an hour over the 40 mph posted limit.

Po­lice don’t reg­u­larly en­force the com­mon ag­gres­sive driv­ing prac­tices of il­le­gal turns and fail­ing to yield at in­ter­sec­tions and on high­ways.

And try­ing to stop drag rac­ers or swerv­ing cy­cles would likely el­e­vate the threat to other driv­ers.

Driv­ing has be­come a game of get­ting away with short­cuts, speed de­mon ac­tions, and dis­re­gard for laws of the road.

Bianca Rober­son’s tragic death sends a mes­sage that things have gone too far.

Our hearts go out to her fam­ily and friends in their grief.

Driv­ing home from shop­ping should not end in mur­der.

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