Give AAA an FAt approxximately 8:15 a.m. last July 1, I...


August 01, 1992

Give AAA an F

At approxximately 8:15 a.m. last July 1, I had the misfortune to suffer a tire failure as I approached the southbound entrance to the Harbor Tunnel.

Within five minutes of the incident, a toll facilities officer stopped to ask if she could be of assistance. She then phoned AAA Maryland to request emergency road service (which I'm entitled to, under my ''AAA Plus'' coverage) and to relay a message informing my office that I would be arriving late.

As she drove off, she assured me that she would check back later to see if everything was OK. Approximately one hour later, the officer reappeared on the scene and again called AAA for assistance.

After waiting about 1 1/2 hours for AAA, I finally changed the tire myself.

Give the officer a grade of A, and to AAA Maryland, a grade of F!

Later, I phoned AAA to express my dissatisfaction. I was assured by the customer service representative that AAA would "compensate me for the value" of the service call.

I eventually received a check from AAA in the amount of $10. If this is what AAA pays for a road service call, it is easy to see why no one came to fix my flat tire.

Jerry F. Graham

Bel Air

Pedestrian Safety Must Be Improved

The death of six-year-old Samuel Wayne Hulett is a tragedy in which all parents share the grief of his family.

The death or serious injury of children in traffic should commit us to the prevention of pedestrian injuries. In the five-year period ending in 1989, 140 pedestrian fatalities occurred in Baltimore City alone -- 21 percent among children under age 15. (The same year, there were over 1,000 non-fatal pedestrian injuries in the city.)

Children are usually struck in densely populated urban areas. Low-income neighborhoods are at even greater risk.

Injuries usually occur in the afternoon while kids are at play. One-third involve children darting into traffic. The severity of the injury is often related to the speed of the vehicle, particularly on relatively quiet residential streets.

Parents can't blame themselves for these tragic deaths. Close supervision and teaching children about the dangers of the street are important but not sufficient to solve the problem.

We haven't done enough as a society to improve the environment for children.

In many European countries, particularly Holland, major strides have been made to create an urban environment where traffic is diverted from residential and shopping zones, pedestrians have priorities over cars in residential areas, traffic is slowed through environmental modification and child safety has a high priority.

In this country, traffic engineers seem to think that traffic must flow undisturbed, regardless of the risk to kids and the elderly.

We need the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to make pedestrian safety for children more of a priority. State and local agencies need to be more involved. Community organizations must identify hazardous locations and work for safer streets.

Bernard Guyer, M.D.


The writer is chairman of the Department of Maternal and Child Health at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.

World's Children Need Aid

In your July 21 editorial, "Budget Firewalls under Attack," you say that the American people have long had a hate affair with foreign aid. I assert that increasing numbers of us find military aid distasteful, but are strongly in favor of supporting aid that improves the health, education, and nutrition of children everywhere. Every day, 40,000 children die worldwide largely of preventable causes.

In September 1990, 71 world leaders, including President Bush, held a historic World Summit for Children and promised to make resources available to meet very specific goals in such areas as maternal and infant mortality, nutrition, access to safe drinking water and universal access to basic education. To implement these promises, the World Summit for Children Implementation Act was introduced in April 1991. It spelled out the funding levels that are required to meet those promises by the target year 2000.

In June, the House of Representatives passed a foreign aid bill which got it half right. The bill cut military aid but misguidedly failed to provide sufficient funding to keep us on track in meeting the World Summit for Children goals.

Senators Barbara Mikulski and Paul Sarbanes of Maryland have a rare opportunity to stiffen the sagging spines of their House colleagues. The Senate Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee meets shortly to consider its version of the foreign aid bill. Senator Mikulski sits on that subcommittee, while Senator Sarbanes is the effective leader of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

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