TO GET SERIOUS
It's hard to believe
that anyone in authority is genuinely concerned about the carnage taking
place on Delaware highways. From time to time there's glowing self-serving
publicity about how successful the periodic traffic stops aimed at curbing
drunken driving are. The relative handfuls of arrests and citations,
however, actually have no effect beyond, perhaps, the few drivers who are
Still the death, injury
and property damage continues unabated. We dare say that if a crime wave
resulted in a comparable toll there would be loud cries that effective
action be taken to deal with the emergency.
The other night, County
Council unanimously enacted an ordinance grandly entitled -- believe it or
not -- "Amend the grants budget: appropriate $40,320 to stop aggressive
driving." [emphasis added] The measure, sponsored by Councilman William
Bell, provided that modest sum to pay overtime for police officers to go
after a few more offenders. One measure of the priority attached to that
activity is the fact it wasn't even county money involved, but a
It is literally
impossible to go out and not witness multiple traffic violations --
speeding, tail-gating, improper lane changes.
What is needed -- and
needed right away -- is a serious effort to not only to penalize a
significant number of offenders but also, in the process, to send a message
that Delaware is really into highway safety.
A workable suggestion
would be to establish a corps of trained -- emphasis on trained -- persons
who would cruise the highways, streets, back roads and lanes using
up-to-date electronic technology to record violations. It would work in a
manner similar to the cameras employed to record red-light running at
selected intersections. There would be no need for confrontation; the
citations would be issued by mail.
Owners of vehicles in
violation would be held responsible with the presumption they are operating
the vehicles or know who is. Instead of a fine, violators would have to
attend four hours of instruction in traffic laws and how to drive in harmony
with them and then pass a test to avoid a suspended license. Charging a fee
comparable to court costs could finance the program with the volume of
offenders it would involve.
Years ago, 'meter maids'
took the place of police officers to free them from the time-consuming chore
of enforcing parking laws. Similarly, demands on police time now discourages
their enforcing 'minor' traffic violations. Having an auxiliary safety
patrol would not only get past that but also would soon have a measurable
HERE to comment.)
AN EXAMPLE WORTH
In a related matter, we
note that California has become the fourth state to enact a statewide ban on
drivers using hand-held cellular telephones while their vehicles are in
motion. Several years ago, State Representative Joseph Miro attempted
similar legislation in Delaware. Somehow in its wisdom, the General Assembly
decided that such a distraction at 60 or more m.p.h. wasn't worth worrying
about. Well, the practice didn't go away and the problem, if anything, got
If a state the size of
California can deal with it, Delaware certainly should be able to follow
HERE to comment.)
TRY -- NOT REALLY
DelDOT finally decided
to paint directional instructions in the appropriate traffic lanes on Foulk
Road at the Blue Ball interchange. They've been doing that in Europe for
some time -- a considerable improvement over roadside directional signs.
However, whoever was responsible for the Foulk Road marker didn't have the
foresight to figure out that it might be better to locate the directions
farther back. As it is, they're too little too late. Drivers are already
committed by the time they're reached.
HERE to comment.)