40 teen traffic deaths since 1990 beg for actionI read...

LETTERS

July 07, 1996

40 teen traffic deaths since 1990 beg for action

I read Alisa Samuels' article regarding the unfortunate accident on Harper's Farm Road in Howard County a month ago.

It was the 40th fatality in Howard County in the last five years involving a teen-ager in an automobile accident. As mentioned in the article, it is by far the most common cause of mortality in this age group, killing more than 6,000 young men and women between 15-20 years of age yearly. Education and legislation have proven to work among teen-agers in decreasing the alcohol-related mortality rate by 52 percent since 1982, and increasing the use of seat belts significantly in local high schools since 1988, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Safety Administration.

We have created a seminar entitled, "You Are Responsible," which tries to teach teen-agers and parents the importance of driving safely to stay alive.

This seminar was given in most high schools in the county last school year and I plan to push for it to be included in every high school in 1996.

Legislation is also being addressed and discussed in Annapolis regarding "graduated driver's licensing," the use of mandatory seat belts, etc. which are also necessary. They both were introduced last year and came close to passing. They will be re-introduced this year. I urge citizens to become involved in order to get this legislation through and to contact their legislator let them know of their support.

It is clear to me that if we are to make a difference, we all must get involved -- the press, legislators, teachers and parents.

Alfredo J. Herrera

Ellicott City

Columbia body right to assume broad view

It is Chuck Rees who is confused about the role of the Columbia Council and not Mike Rethman, the new chairman of the Columbia Council (letter to the editor, June 2).

Mr. Rees believes that the Columbia Council should not concern itself with issues unrelated to its role as the board of directors for the Columbia Association. This is a very limited view of the responsibilities of the Columbia Council. The structure of Columbia allows both village board members and Columbia Council representatives to be active in the community.

Columbia Council representatives and village board members could mediate disputes involving residents who oppose their actions. This would eliminate the animosity that develops because of battles over CA policy.

In addition, increased crime, including vandalism and public school issues and state and local issues all have an impact on Columbia residents and should be of concern to all village members and Columbia Council representatives. If all of Columbia's elected officials were to take an active role in the community, Columbia would be a unique place to live and not just another suburb.

In addition, the Columbia Council would become more "open," "democratic" and "responsive," which are things that Mr. Rees and the Alliance for a Better Columbia would like.

Laura Waters

Columbia

Howard not cheering Route 32 widening

As one of the 250 attendees at the State Highway Administration's workshop on widening Route 32 between Route and Interstate 70, I failed to hear any "cheers" (The Sun, June 27), except possibly from employees of the SHA.

The prevailing sentiment by Howard County residents in attendance was that the expansion is not needed at this time and that the impact is punitive to residents living in the affected corridor. While this expansion may assist commuters from Carroll and Frederick counties to travel to work at speeds in excess of 55 mph, Howard County taxpayers will experience only home devaluation and increased noise, local traffic and pollution.

Nancy H. Peters

Ellicott City

Sun's article on pay and work load for county employees missed point

In case you're interested, these are the facts in the matter regarding Howard County employees, "overpaid and under-worked."

The consultant's report does not say Howard County employees are overpaid. In fact, county employee salaries are consistent with neighboring local jurisdictions and lag behind private sector salaries.

The consultant's report does not say Howard County employees are under-worked. The majority of county employees work 40 or more hours per week. Fairly, one-third are 35-hour employees but they are not paid for 40 hours and at least one-third of this group work considerably more than 35 hours for no extra pay. The real story is much more boring and involves hard-working employees who are dedicated to the health, safety, welfare and quality of life that Howard County residents receive and rightfully expect. And most of these employees could not pretend to afford the cost of the average single-family home in Howard on their salary.

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