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Lamber: Let’s get behind Tempe’s Operation Slow Down


As a dedicated advocate for public safety, I’m profoundly conscious of the dangers lurking on our roads. Initiatives like Tempe’s Operation Slow Down strike a particularly resonant chord with me, especially as a father of two driving-age boys, with one attending Arizona State University.

The recent coverage by the Arizona Republic of this important endeavor, led by the Tempe Police Department, highlights a committed effort to bolster road safety by decisively addressing the issues of speeding and drag racing within the city.

Why Operation Slow Down matters

Imagine driving through Tempe, feeling the urgency of your daily routine pushing you to accelerate, only to be reminded by the stern presence of law enforcement that your haste could cost dearly. This is the essence of Operation Slow Down, a no-nonsense approach where Tempe police officers are instructed to issue tickets, not warnings, to speeders. This initiative, active until March 15, embodies a stern commitment to road safety, a commitment I deeply respect and advocate for in my legal practice.

The issue is not just speeding in general. Tempe faces a specific challenge with the dangerous trend of drag racing, a reckless act that endangers everyone on the road. Vice Mayor Jennifer Adams reports a significant effort to tackle this, with the police making 34 drag-racing arrests in the last six months alone. This proactive stance by the Tempe Police is commendable and a clear signal that road safety is a top priority.

Vision Zero: The broader context

Tempe’s dedication to safer roads is part of a larger goal. In 2018, the city aligned itself with Vision Zero, a nationwide campaign aimed at eliminating fatal and severe traffic accidents. The mission of Vision Zero is one I stand firmly behind; it aligns with my own commitment to ensuring safety and justice for all. The recent statistics from Tempe are promising, indicating a significant reduction in crashes, injuries and fatalities. Yet, challenges remain, particularly in addressing crashes involving alcohol and those caused by excessive speed or aggressive driving.

A personal reflection

In my legal career, spanning over three decades, I’ve seen the devastation that reckless driving can cause. Each case is a tragic story of what might have been, a reminder of the preciousness of life and the duty we all share to protect it.

As Vice Mayor Adams optimistically states, the goal of Operation Slow Down is straightforward: to reduce speed and save lives. It’s a sentiment that resonates with the ethos of my practice and my personal values. The approach is proven, and the results are tangible.

As a community, we must rally behind such initiatives, recognizing that the responsibility for safer roads lies with each one of us. Whether we’re behind the wheel, advocating for policy or educating our youth about road safety, every action counts. Let’s embrace this initiative, support our law enforcement in their diligent efforts, and work together towards a future where the roads of Tempe, and indeed all communities, are safer for every traveler.

A director at the Am Law 200 firm Fennemore, Lamber chairs the Personal Injury Practice Group and has been featured in national and local media, including USA Today, ABC News, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, the ABA Journal and others.

opinion, letters