Earlier this week, area law enforcement officials announced the implementation of what they’re calling a “summer safety corridor project.” Designed to help curb the high number of vehicular crashes in this area, the program introduces a no-tolerance policy for the violation of traffic laws.
Cherokee County’s highways have some of the highest numbers of crashes in the state, and many of them result in fatalities. Officials believe the educational campaign, accompanied by a brisker pace of citation-writing, will help save lives.
Effective immediately, officers will be handing out warnings for violations as part of their “pro-active approach,” and when June rolls around, full-fledged tickets – and all that implies – will be presented to offenders.
Areas within the corridor include sections of State Highways 10, 51 and 82, and U.S. Highway 62. All have been marked with reflective signs indicating where the corridor begins and ends. The main focus of enforcement is expected to be on S.H. 10 and areas of Lake Tenkiller, due to the high volume of summer tourist traffic. Primary offense targets will be impaired driving, speed, seat-belt usage, work-zone awareness, motorcycle safety, and inattentive driving. 
Cherokee County Undersheriff Jason Chennault stressed that the goal is not to write more tickets, but rather to reduce crashes and save lives. However, another type of traffic – that on the Daily Press’ Facebook page, and in calls to the newspaper office – indicates many area residents are skeptical not just about the motives, but also about what the project may achieve.
For instance, officials have suggested “zero tolerance” means if you exceed the speed limit by even 1 mile an hour, you’ll be slapped with a ticket. Everyone who’s been behind the wheel knows how easy it is to creep a mile or two over on the speedometer before noticing and tapping the brakes – especially in hilly areas with low speed limits, like Bluff. 
There’s not much evidence that driving 56 mph is any more dangerous than driving 55 mph, though in a zero tolerance environment, it could certainly increase fine collections. On the other hand, authorities would point out they have to draw a line somewhere between leniency and vigilance, and that line might as well be with the actual speed limit.
While a harsh official attitude toward speeding might lift some eyebrows, anyone with any sense would agree that extreme militancy against drunken and drugged drivers should be welcomed with open arms.
There is simply no excuse for driving impaired, and people who do it should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. 
In attentive drivers are also a menace. How many crashes are caused by idiots who apply makeup, text or yap on cell phones, or try to juggle a cigarette, a soft drink and a poodle while behind a steering wheel? These people deserve no tolerance, and for the sakes of the rest of us, they shouldn’t get it.
Everyone has a bad driving habit, whether it be speeding, slowing instead of stopping at stop signs, neglect of turn signals, whatever.
The safety corridor means all of us must be more careful. A single moving violation can cost up to $200 and even more, and will almost guarantee an increase in insurance premiums for at least three years. With gasoline prices the way they are, none of us can afford a ticket and all it implies – which could include the loss of a job. Many companies now require pristine records for employees who must drive as part of their jobs.
Whatever you think of the rules, it will behoove you to follow them. Consider yourself warned.

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