Police Officials Plead With Community to Help Make Roads Safer

So far, 2003 has been a record-breaking year on local roads. The record, however, is nothing to be proud of. Since January, 14 of our neighbors have died on our roads. Most of those deaths have occurred on Route 2/4, the county's primary and most traveled roadway.

In each of these tragic incidents, the main cause has been driver error. Impaired driving, aggressive driving, high speeds, inattention and inexperience have been to blame. Stop, and read that list again. Ask yourself if at some other time it could have been you.

Certainly, the traffic on Route 4 has increased significantly. That's to be expected when you live in the fastest growing jurisdiction in the state. What we shouldn't expect--and should not accept--is the heartbreaking rise in the number of fatal accidents.

The Calvert County Sheriff's Office and the Maryland State Police are beefing up patrols to catch speeders and impaired drivers. Local and state officials are studying crash locations to determine whether road improvements are needed. The media has joined us in our Chief's Challenge campaign to "Click It or Ticket." Calvert County speed trailer is showing up in front of schools and in communities to remind drivers to watch their speed. We're doing what we can to keep you safe on our roads. The rest is up to you.

Calvert County drivers need to change their habits to adjust for greater road congestion. Speed greatly increases the severity of any accident, so please slow down. Buckle up, it's the law! Change lanes only when the move can be made safely, and don't tailgate. Make sure child safety seats are properly installed. If you're a motorcyclist, be sure to wear a DOT certified helmet. Look both ways twice before crossing an intersection, and be sure to make the last look in the direction of the traffic coming toward you, and don't drive while impaired by drugs or alcohol.

The next time you get into the driver's seat, take a moment to remember how very fragile life is. And then, remember these names:  Anne Whisman, 82; Thomas Bennet, Jr., 82: Paul Grisso, 79; Anna Griso, 71; Bernice Buck, 60; Wesley Coates, 51; James Mackall, 48; Denny Jones, 46; Michele Windsor, 42; William Clelland, 37; Sylvia Creek, 34; David Winfield, 19; Sheena Creek, 17; and Martin Herbert, Jr., 16.

Please help us make our roads safer. Calvert County has seen an increase of 30 percent in traffic accidents, with an average of over one thousand accidents reported in a three-year period ending in 2002. Injuries occur in nearly half of all accidents.

The worst part of a law enforcement officer's job is telling family members that a loved one won't be coming home. We've done that enough times already this year.

Sheriff Mike Evans

Major Tom Hejl, Assistant Sheriff

Capt. Norman Dofflemeyer, Maryland State Police Prince Frederick Barrack Commander

Lt. Jerry Beason, Assistant Barrack Commander

Debbie Jennings, Traffic Safety Council Coordinator

Article in the Calvert Recorder Wednesday, July 16, 2003