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Editorial: August is deadly on roads

Seven of the deadliest days for motorists fall between Aug. 3 and Sept. 3, and the five deadliest days in August make the month the worst of the year for motorists.

In light of that, it is good that the Carroll County Sheriff's Office has joined with other law enforcement agencies across the state to crack down on aggressive and dangerous driving this month.

According to the AAA Mid-Atlantic, Aug. 3, Aug. 4, Aug. 6, Aug. 11, Aug. 31, Sept. 1 and Sept. 2 make the top 15 list for deadliest days on the road.

In a press release, Ragina C. Averella, public and government affairs manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic said, "During the summer months, it seems everyone is on vacation. During this laid-back time, it is easy for some drivers to let their guard down when they are behind the wheel. That can be potentially dangerous at any time and particularly so when you are traveling on vacation many miles from home."

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 2,900 people were killed in August 2009 on our nation's roads.

According to AAA, risk factors behind the wheel during August include: driving at unsafe speeds, being in a hurry, as well as driving while distracted, fatigued, unbelted or impaired.

In noting the increased efforts at enforcement over this month, the sheriff's office noted that historically August has proven to be the deadliest month in terms of traffic-related fatalities in Maryland. According to the Maryland Highway Safety Office, during 2011 a person was killed on Maryland roadways every 18 hours, totaling 486 deaths for the year. Further, during the past decade there have been proportionally more traffic-related deaths overnight in the month of August, making night time enforcement operations a focal point of current enforcement operations.

To combat that, according to the sheriff's office, highly visible traffic enforcement will be present on all roadways throughout August, which began last week with Smooth Operator, the statewide aggressive driving prevention campaign. Sheriff's deputies will also be conducting saturation patrols to identify and remove impaired, aggressive and unsafe drivers from the road over the Labor Day weekend.

Awareness is always the first step in battling problems, but action is the next step. It takes drivers recognizing the increased potential for danger and altering their behavior behind the wheel to make positive gains, and that is where the increased police presence can help.

If the thought of an increased risk of an accident isn't enough to get people to drive safer, perhaps the threat of - or actually getting -a ticket, points on their license and probably higher insurance fees will.

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