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Cornelius News

For the Sake of our Kids, Slow Down, Pay Attention

Brinkley Street Chalk Warning

OPINION. Across Cornelius there are concerns about speeding, distracted drivers and neighborhood cut-throughs. These are mortal threats to children as the new school year gets under way Monday.

Thousands of Cornelius children will be on the streets early Monday morning waiting for their school buses, yet speeding is a crisis here and across the country.

Please slow down for the sake of our kids.

Cornelius residents have recently pleaded with the Town Board about speeding on Old Canal in Antiquity and Jetton Road in The Peninsula. Cut-through drivers and speeders are deeply worrisome to parents in Robbins Park, especially during school bus arrivals.

On Brinkley Street residents have boldly painted “SLOW DOWN” on the pavement twice, once for each direction.

On Church Street, resident John Blakely says his street has turned into “a drag strip.”

Speeding is involved in about 10,000 highway fatalities each year according to the National Transportation Safety Board. Indeed, more than 112,500 people died in speeding-related  highway crashes from 2005-2014—about the same as those who died in alcohol-involved crashes.

Drunk-driving gets all the attention, but there should be as much concern about speed sofflaws whose behavior results in the death of innocent bystanders. “You can’t tackle our rising epidemic of roadway deaths without tackling speeding,” said NTSB Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt. According to the NTSB, speeding increases crash risk in two ways:

● It increases the likelihood of being involved in a crash.
● It increases the severity of injuries sustained by all road users in a crash.

To make matters worse, the NTSB, in a study July 25, 2017, says the current level of emphasis on speeding as a national traffic safety issue is lower than warranted.

We do understand the need to get up and go—somewhere, anywhere—given the inability to do so on I-77 most of the time. But our neighborhood streets are not the place to speed.

Monday is the first day of school for Charlotte-Mecklenburg public schools. Some children will be boarding school buses in the dark, while others may bike or walk with their parents.

Because Daylight Savings Time doesn’t end until until Nov. 4, it will become progressively darker each morning and potentially more dangerous for more children as August rolls into September, September rolls into October and October rolls into November.

Texting while driving is dangerous to children and other living things as well. We’ve spotted car tracks in odd places around Cornelius—signs of distracted driving. The NTSB called for a nationwide ban on driver use of portable electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle in 2011.

North Carolina banned texting for all drivers, but distracted driving laws here are tougher on novice drivers, prohibiting them from all cell phone use.



Sadly, adult drivers may chatter away while behind the wheel.

In 2011 and 2012, several bills were filed, that would ban all drivers from using hand-held cell phones, but none of them was approved. NC Sen. Jeff Tarte, a Cornelius resident, says he will introduce a distracted driving bill in January. It will take phones out of drivers’ hands, but allows operation via Bluetooth.  This is a step in the right direction and we applaud our former mayor.

Controlling our speeds and paying attention to the children around us is a matter of life and death. Please slow down and put the phone down when you drive on our streets.

—By Dave Yochum