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Politics and soccer; pedestrian death rate can be lowered | READER COMMENTARY

Politics and soccer

My grandsons have played soccer for many years and this is what I have learned. The sport helps young women and men develop physically, emotionally and socially. They learn to cooperate in a group effort, to deal with ups and downs, to win and lose gracefully.

I wish our politics would be more like soccer.

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Soccer operates under an organization called Federation International of Football Association (FIFA). FIFA has a constitution, a President, a Congress, and various subgroups. It sets the rules of the game.

Each game is played on a field with defined boundaries. If you refuse to play on the assigned field you forfeit the game. If you kick the ball out of bounds, the other team gets the ball. If you do not follow the rules of the game the other team gets the ball. If you try to injure another player your team suffers a penalty and you may be ejected from the game.

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Many of today’s politicians should be “red carded” and ejected.

Your opponents will score goals on you. It would be considered bad sportsmanship for you to run to the sideline and riddle the spectators with fake news that there was no goal. You will lose games. Engaging in a social media campaign claiming that the game was rigged would be met with widespread disapproval and possible sanction by the league.

You do not have the right to win every game.

Why do we tolerate behavior in our politics that we would not tolerate in soccer?

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George Conover, Westminster

Pedestrian death rate can be lowered

We are heading into autumn and with the beautiful falling leaves and last hints of summer come the riskiest time of year for pedestrians. Shorter days — and less sunlight — mean higher risks for traffic crashes involving pedestrians: More than 30% of pedestrian fatalities between September and February happen at night.

In 2019, more than 6,200 American pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes across the nation. That’s one person every 85 minutes. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, 123 of these pedestrians were killed in Maryland, putting the Free State in 15th place for pedestrian deaths per population in the United States.

These staggering statistics are too often a result of reckless or careless driving. Almost half of pedestrian crashes throughout the U.S. that resulted in death involved alcohol, and many others can be attributed to higher auto speeds and distractions such as use of hand-held devices. The devastation of pedestrian fatalities will not decline unless drivers and pedestrians take personal responsibility, put down their phones and pay attention to the roads around them. Walking securely within our communities means promoting safer driver and pedestrian behaviors, ensuring that everyone on the road is mutually committed to safety.

October is designated by the National Transportation Safety Board as National Pedestrian Safety Month. The NTSB reminds us that we are all pedestrians at some point: educating the public and taking extra precautions will mean safer communities for pedestrians and all road users. Being mindful of greater risks now will mean avoiding a crash or fatality later.

Insurers continue to offer educational resources to road users as to the dangers of distracted and impaired driving and the direct implications for pedestrian safety. More national awareness is needed on the potential consequences of driving with distractions or under the influence of substances, as well as walking while looking down at handheld devices and failing to use crosswalks. Creating a better understanding for drivers and pedestrians of how to prevent pedestrian crashes will eventually help to reduce the number of pedestrian deaths nationwide, protecting what matters most.

Stephanie Strategos Polis, Bethesda

The writer is assistant vice president for public affairs with the American Property Casualty Insurance Association.

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