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Cumberland County Wants To Put The Brakes On Holiday Traffic Accidents

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CUMBERLAND COUNTY — Cumberland County is stepping up efforts to put the brakes on traffic accidents around the holidays and the rest of the year.

Ronald Parnell is bouncing back from a car accident right before Christmas. He is now undergoing eight hours of therapy a day after suffering a head injury and two broken bones in his back.

"A lot of times, you take for granted your balance. Once I hurt my back, a lot of areas I was good in before, I'm not good in now," he says.

Juanita Strand of the Cumberland County Safe Community Coalition is trying to educate everybody about the impact of driving dangerously.

"If you have a motor vehicle crash, your injury doesn't go away the next day when you wake up," she says. "It's not that you can just get your car fixed, it's a lifelong injury."

For the last five years, Cumberland County has rated in the top five in the state per capita for collisions -- figures that prompted the creation of the coalition. More than 10 local agencies are now pooling their resources to prevent accidents. Fort Bragg is involved because research shows the people causing the most crashes are between the ages of 17 and 25. Many soldiers are in that age bracket.

"[It's] invincible syndrome where they think, 'No, it's not going to happen to me,' but a lot of times, it does happen to those individuals in that age group of 17 to 25," says Sgt. Marco Ward.

In 2001, the Cumberland County Safe Community Coalition will launch a Safe Driving Campaign specifically targeted at 17- to 25-year-olds. Over the past year, they have also organized checkpoints,safety fairs and child safety seat clinics.


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