Well, we blink, and it is almost over! Within a month, most of our schools will be reopened, and we’ll be back to the hustle of heavy traffic and after-school activities. I hope you and your family and friends have had a chance to pause with a vacation or some downtime during the past few weeks.
We all know that summer fun can result in tragic roadway fatalities. In conjunction with fun in the sun, roadways can become dangerous places. Despite technological advancements in making safer vehicles, unnecessary traffic risks are a recipe for tragedy. This year marks the 20th consecutive season of the 100 Days of Summer HEAT (Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic) campaign, a program designed to reduce fatal crashes from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Law enforcement partners conduct this program across the state, looking for all manner of unsafe motorists. Drunk drivers, aggressive speeders and distracted drivers all create dangers for those traveling our roadways. We want you to arrive safely! We want you to arrive alive! We do not want to have to issue an expensive citation as a reminder. We want you to slow down and abide by the laws that help protect you, your family and fellow travelers. Just a few weeks ago, a high school friend lost an adult child in a traffic fatality. The family is heartbroken, and we do not want you or your friends to experience this pain.
Life is precious, and we should not consciously be reckless. Medical and mental health and accidental risk are mostly unpredictable. Those cards are stacked against us already. Why would we want to do things to increase the chances of injury or death by taking unnecessary risks? I cannot answer that, nor can I physically force you to make the correct choices. However, those of us who are committed to making our communities as safe as possible can help. Although citations and arrests can be expensive and create an embarrassing experience, they pale in comparison to the gravity of a tragedy.
I beg you to help contribute to creating time for our officers to spend in more relaxed settings, like building relationships through neighborhood patrols. Help reduce the number of accidents, injuries and fatalities. Please do your part by slowing down, driving sober, remaining focused on the road and not getting distracted. Otherwise, you will force the officers to write citations and make arrests when they witness risky violations.
Thank you for reading, thank you for caring, thank you for staying safe. We want you around for the next birthday, graduation and celebration of accomplishment. Have a great rest of your summer!
Until next time, stay safe.
– Bill Westenberger has served as chief since 2008. He was given the 2019 Kennesaw Citizen of the Year Award.