1. Archive

Carnage on roads calls for warlike campaign

Re: Roads mark a morbid year, Jan. 9 Times:

Editor: It's the same old song-and-dance routine. More congestion and more drivers on the roads and not enough enforcement assets. Sounds like an excuse to me!

So, we had 49 fatalities in Hernando County last year. And how many were injured? How many vehicles were damaged or destroyed? How many families suffered avoidable emotional and financial trauma? If the news media focused on the traffic carnage the way they focus on events in Iraq, we would certainly have a much clearer picture of something that affects all of us much more directly than Iraq.

Stealth vehicles? I guess that's the new fad word for unmarked vehicles. But I'll bet you that the patrol officer in a "stealth vehicle" will see a lot more of the reasons why we had 49 traffic fatalities last year. That large white sedan is a sure giveaway and "aggressive drivers" aren't stupid.

Want a sure indicator of the type of drivers who need help with their driving habits? They're the ones who stay right off your rear bumper regardless of your speed. If those drivers will do that, they also will speed up for light changes, go too fast, run stop signs and generally jeopardize and irritate every other driver on the road. Do they do this because they're in a hurry? No, they do it because they know the chances are small they will be caught.

Special driving school at the airport for young drivers? I thought it was called "driver's education" and it was taught in high schools. Young drivers have accidents because of inexperience. But how can you call the carnage caused by "aggressive" drivers an accident when they daily engage in behavior that is much more likely than other drivers to ultimately lead to an "accident"?

Traffic light cameras? Sneaky enforcement methods? In spite of a perceived preponderance of evidence to the contrary, juries, not lawyers, decide court issues. If the news media can call attention to, and keep it focused on, a very real problem, and juries can do the right thing despite the theatrics of someone who would fit right in at a shady used-car lot, and law enforcement agency chiefs can focus on results instead of excuses, the police officers on the streets will have the tools they really need to make "aggressive" drivers a very, very small minority. It also will make driving a lot safer and less irritating for the rest of us.

If it really and justifiably takes an extra penny or so of sales tax, or an extra mill on the property tax rate, I'm willing to pay it. And I'm willing to obey traffic laws so that other drivers can predict what I will do while driving.

I spent 10 years driving European roads, and despite much more traffic congestion than Hernando County is ever likely to experience, driving there was a lot less dangerous and stressful simply because I could depend on the vast majority of other drivers to obey traffic laws and drive in a responsible manner.

To put it in current context, I believe we in Hernando County are in a state of low-intensity warfare and there are terrorists in our midst who will try to kill and injure us. We have 49 casualties, an unknown number of wounded and damaged property from their activities just last year. It needs to stop.

John Bowens, Spring Hill

Forgo the left turn,

save yourself accident

Editor: I live near the intersection of Spring Hill Drive and Linden Drive. There have been many accidents and so many near accidents it's hard to count.

I've said the easiest and most cost-efficient way to solve the problem is if you are going north or south on Linden Drive, when you get to Spring Hill Drive, do not make a left turn.

It's so simple. It might be a little inconvenient for people, but that's life.

Bob Frank, Spring Hill