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Sunday, July 21, 2013
I am writing to praise the behavior of the Honorable Philip Trompeter. He is a presiding judge over the Roanoke County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court in Salem.
Most any parent in the Roanoke area may well have encountered Judge Trompeter when a child received a license or was cited for any traffic violation.
He tends to give a very lengthy diatribe at the time children receive their licenses about the fact that this is a privilege and not a right. He emphasizes the gravity of driving a motor vehicle and the real responsibility that comes with operating one.
Having spoken with friends and family, I have found the licensing procedure tends to be very mundane in other parts of the country and involves no education from the judge administering the licenses.
My son and I recently appeared before Trompeter because of a ticket that my son received for driving with a malfunctioning brake light. Instead of simply reviewing the case and ending his day early, the judge spent almost 20 minutes explaining to my son and me the hazards of driving, especially for teenagers and young adults.
He emphasizes that the leading cause of death in a high school-age child is motor-vehicle-related accidents. In children ages 12-19, almost 50 percent of deaths are related to what is termed “unintentional injury,” and more than three-quarters of those are motor vehicle crashes.
While I have heard a multitude of friends complain about the judge’s style of lecturing both the child and the parent, I give him credit for not only placing the responsibility on the child, but also putting some responsibility on the adults for parental oversight and punishment.
In a society where it is increasingly difficult to find people who do quality work and take pride in what they do, I think this is an admirable quality in Judge Trompeter. Clearly, it would be much easier for him to simply crank through the docket each day and finish the workload in a timely fashion. Instead, he takes a great deal of time to educate children and their parents on an extremely serious issue.
While I am well aware at times his message is difficult to hear, I think we should all appreciate the effort he makes in trying to educate and protect the lives of our children.
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