LETTER: Saving Teen Lives in Calvert


The faster you drive … the less reaction time you have to brake, the more distance you need to stop, the harder it is to control your vehicle, the harder your impact in a crash, and the greater the chance of serious bodily injury or being killed. It's one of the "Choose Safety for Life" messages that teens in Maryland's driver's education programs have heard through the years, and those concerns have certainly been reinforced by local educators and law enforcement officers.

I often meet with parents to discuss Calvert's young driver initiatives (behind the wheel skills clinics, education programs and enforcement efforts). The concern most frequently expressed by parents is not whether their teen knows the traffic laws or whether they are prepared for changes in road or weather conditions. It's more often whether their new driver can safely handle prevailing speeds and the aggressive driving behaviors exhibited by other motorists, especially on Md. Route 2/4.

The Calvert County Sheriff's Office conducted an "Opening Day of School" enforcement effort last week. Although much of the enforcement took place during regular staff scheduling, several roadways near the high schools were carefully selected for grant-funded overtime enforcement, based on previous citation and crash data. More than 40 citations or warnings were issued - and all to adult drivers. Not one teen was pulled over during that morning's overtime efforts.

Calvert County residents were recently requested to participate in the "Monitoring the Future of Maryland" traffic safety survey. The survey ended last week, and a preliminary review of the responses has been completed. Addressing "speed and aggressive driving" behaviors was again listed as residents' topmost traffic safety priority by 394 of the 550 participants (71%). Ironically in the same survey, 59% of respondents stated that they have driven more than 10 miles over the speed limit in the last month.

The Calvert County Sheriff's Office and Maryland State Police will continue to conduct aggressive driving enforcement, especially during the upcoming "Smooth Operator" aggressive driver enforcement wave, which begins September 6th and will runs through September 19th. Members of the Calvert County Traffic Safety Council are reminding all motorists that there are many new drivers traveling to and from the high schools. Let's all Slow Down, Drive Sober, Buckle Up, and Stay Aware, especially when we know our teenagers are driving to and from school. For additional information on Maryland's traffic safety programs, please go to www.choosesafetyforlife.com.

Debbie Jennings, Coordinator
Calvert County Traffic Safety Council
210 Main Street
Prince Frederick, Maryland 20678
410 535-2200

Calvert County Fatality & DUI Stats

Fatal Crashes: 4
Total Fatalities: 4

Young Driver Fatalities: 3 (In two of the three fatal crashes a young driver was at fault, but another vehicle’s occupant was the deceased)

Motorcycle Related: 1
Impaired Driver Related: 0

Impaired Driver (DUI) Arrests: 644
Young Impaired Driver Arrests: 52

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