Kansas Highway 10, especially the portion of the highway known as the South Lawrence Trafficway, has become a pretty scary road.
So scary, in fact, that many local residents probably will welcome the increased law enforcement patrols planned for the highway.
In the last two weeks, four people have died in three K-10 collisions. The accidents still are under investigation, but they have prompted concern from many residents who regularly witness drivers operating vehicles carelessly or at high speeds on the road.
Special patrols are planned today to handle traffic to and from the Kansas University football game against Kansas State University, but Kansas Highway Patrol troopers in Douglas and Franklin counties also have been ordered to spend at least two hours of every shift patrolling K-10 on a regular basis. State engineers also are looking at other steps, such a rumble strip down the center of the two-lane bypass as a way to cut down on accidents.
Rumble strips would seem to have limited effect. They might wake up a driver who was falling asleep or fiddling with a radio, but they wouldn't stop a driver from passing another vehicle at an unsafe place or time, as occurred in one of the recent fatal accidents.
It's all right to investigate physical changes to the road, but there's really nothing like the presence of law enforcement patrols - and a willingness to hand out some costly tickets - to get drivers' attention.
The South Lawrence Trafficway hasn't proven to be a particularly hazardous road in recent years, but increased traffic and speed on the bypass could be a deadly combination. Perhaps the recent accidents are simply an aberration, but state officials are right to step up the law enforcement presence and take a close look at the safety of K-10 both around Lawrence and to the east.