My comments this week about bad school bus drivers and my encounter with drivers who don’t use their lights in rain and fog brought a flood of email and phone calls from concerned parents and others who have encountered too much danger on the road.
It rained most of Thursday and I did a count of cars driving up Main Street towards the stop light at the Intersection of U.S. 221 and Virginia Route 8. In a 15-minute period, I counted 49 cars traveling both directions in the rain. Of those 49, 13 had their lights on. The rest drove without lights in violation of the Virginia law that requires lights be turned on when using windshield wipers.
In that same period, two cars drove the wrong way on the one-way street between the County Courthouse and the Bank of Floyd and four went against the one-way arrows in the Village Green parking lot. Seventeen cars didn’t use a directional signal when turning and 19 stopped well beyond the lines painted on the street to keep traffic back a safe distance so large trucks can make the turn at the stop light.
I counted 27 drivers talking on their cell phones while driving. Two women applied lipstick and four men typed on their Blackberries.
Jeff Blakley, a newcomer to Floyd County, says he has noticed a significant number of drivers don’t use seatbelts.
He wonders: "What’s up with that?"
After 23 years of living in the Washington, DC, area, where traffic is among the worst in the nation and four years back here, I believe Floyd County has too many bad drivers who don’t belong on the road. For a county our size, we have too many single-vehicle wrecks involving cars that run off the road because drivers misjudge turns or get distracted by trying to dial a cell phone or fiddle with the radio. We have a high rate of head-on accidents caused by drivers who stray over the center line and a day spent in General District Court on Thursday shows too many local drivers drive too damn fast.