The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is reviewing its U-turn procedures with troopers, but it also needs to review with troopers and citizens of this state the goals and purpose of the agency.

Three recent traffic accidents involving troopers were the result of troopers making U-turns on highways. In one, on Oct. 1, a trooper and a trucker died.

In two of the three accidents, including the one that led to the trooper’s death, the troopers made improper turns, according to the OHP. In the third, the agency said the accident was the cause of an inattentive driver.

Part of OHP’s job should be to ticket speeders. Speed can cause accidents.

But just as we don’t want local law officers running through intersections at high speeds during pursuits, there is not much wisdom in a trooper suddenly making a 180-degree turn on a busy highway.

Sometimes the safety of the public is better served and protected by catching speeders with a different method, such as working in coordination with a second trooper patrolling the opposite lane.

We don’t want to appear to condone speeding, but we also want to know if the primary function of the OHP is to enforce speed laws.

You hear it said occasionally that OHP troopers are glorified traffic cops.

We are not saying that is true. We believe their duties entail much more.

But when three accidents involving troopers occur in a short period of time, it makes a person wonder if the agency is not overemphasizing one aspect of its job over all the others, so much so that troopers are throwing caution to the wind.

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