If the Carroll County commissioners don't do something to stop trucks from speeding down Klees Mill Road, a fatal accident will occur there one day, residents living along the South Carroll road insist.
Lee Strayer said his wife often returns home trembling because trucks bear down on her at tremendous speeds as she drives down a hill to their house.
"She's afraid they're going to run her over," Strayer told the commissioners this week.
Commissioner Donald I. Dell said it might be unfair to restrict commercial truck traffic because of residents' concerns. Such a decision might embolden homeowners across the county to demand a stop to truck traffic on their roads, he said, and trucks would then have nowhere to go.
But Strayer said the county should be more worried about saving lives than pleasing truckers. He was not asked by the commissioners and did not offer a guess as to how fast trucks travel on Klees Mill.
The commissioners have met four times with residents of Klees Mill Road, a heavily traveled link between Route 32 (Sykesville Road) and Route 26 (Liberty Road).
They promised yesterday to have county staff members study how many trucks use the road.
The commissioners will then decide whether to restrict truck traffic on Klees Mill, lower the speed limit in areas or leave the laws unchanged.
Maryland State Police will heighten enforcement of traffic laws on the road, said Lt. Terry L. Katz, Westminster barracks commander.
Katz said state police will look for trucks that tend to drive aggressively on Klees Mill. If police find persistent violators, he said, he and the county will pressure the owners of those trucks to mend their drivers' ways.
Strayer called that promise a temporary, superficial solution.
"These guys are cowboys," he said of the truck drivers. "I'm telling you, they're cowboys."
Speed limits on Klees Mill range from 25 mph to 40 mph.
The commissioners said they might be amenable to standardizing the speed limit for the road at 30 mph or 35 mph, but Commissioner Robin Bartlett Frazier said she drove the road recently and found the speed limits reasonable.
"I don't understand why when we bring an issue like this forward, we should have it thrown back in our faces," said Julie Mount, a Klees Mill resident.
Mount said that drivers routinely travel 10 mph over the speed limit, and that means vehicles zip by her home at 45 or 50 mph.
"That's unacceptable," she said.
When setting speed limits, the county can't assume drivers will violate those limits by a certain amount, Frazier replied.
The commissioners must set reasonable limits, then rely on police to enforce them, she said.
The commissioners also are to address speed limit concerns on nearby Deer Park Road.
That road curves through Dave Yingling's farm, and he said he fears for his life every time he crosses the road on a tractor or with an animal.
The speed limit should be lowered from 40 to 30 mph on a stretch of Deer Park that has several blind curves where farmers regularly cross the road, he said.
The commissioners said they would await more traffic data and staff recommendations before changing speed limits or truck regulations on either road.
They did not say when they would next address the subject.