"I don't think we have ever had a February as high as this February," the sheriff said Thursday.

While Bane said he did not know the actual numbers of fatalities through the years, he is mostly focused on improving the county's standing in the state.

"We don't look good. There's not a whole lot we can do in a lot of instances to prevent an accident. That's why they call it an accident," Bane said. "What we need to do in law enforcement... is we can't just say, well, there's nothing we can do and continue on."

Bane also said it does appear the county has had "so many more" accidents in general this year.

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'Way up' this year

"I think we are going to be way up [in 2012]," he said. "Let's just say that [fatalities] have been the same or going down. It's still incumbent on the sheriff to see if we can reduce them even further."

Bane has complained previously that the county has inadequate roads to handle volumes of traffic that have increased exponentially in the past 25 years. Route 543 is a case in point. A two-lane highway linking the north central part of the county with I-95, it has become a major route for commuters to Baltimore who want to avoid Bel Air on their trips to and from work.

A nationwide movement is afoot to cut highway deaths to zero, and Bane said he wants to be part of it.

Young, of the MVA, agreed Harford may be bucking a Maryland-wide trend.

"Statewide, the number of fatal crashes are going down," he said. "Hopefully our message is getting out there."