Up & Coming Weekly

March 14, 2023

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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4 UCW MARCH 15 - 21, 2023 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM STAFF PUBLISHER Bill Bowman Bill@upandcomingweekly.com OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Paulette Naylor accounting@upandcomingweekly.com MANAGING EDITOR April Olsen editor@upandcomingweekly.com ASSISTANT EDITOR Hannah Lee assistanteditor@upandcomingweekly. com ART DIRECTOR Courtney Sapp-Scott art@upandcomingweekly.com GRAPHIC DESIGNER Isaiah Jones graphics@upandcomingweekly.com STAFF WRITERS Alyson Hansen Ashley Shirley Kathleen Ramsey Chayenne Burns Katrina Wilson CONTRIBUTING WRITERS John Hood, D.G. Martin, Ben Sessoms, Andrew Hanchar, Cynthia Ross MARKETING ASSOCIATE Linda McAlister linda@upandcomingweekly.com DISTRIBUTION MANAGER/SALES ADMINISTRATOR Paulette Naylor accounting@upandcomingweekly.com COVER Photos and design by Isaiah Jones Up & Coming Weekly www.upandcomingweekly.com 208 Rowan St. P.O. Box 53461 Fayetteville, NC 28305 PHONE: 910-484-6200- FAX: 910-484-9218 Up & Coming Weekly is a "Quality of Life" publication with local features, news and information on what's happening in and around the Fayetteville/Cumberland County community. Published weekly on Wednesdays, Up & Coming Weekly welcomes manuscripts, photographs and artwork for publication consideration, but assumes no responsibility for them. We cannot accept responsibility for the return of unsolicited manuscripts or material. Opinions expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. The publisher reserves the right to edit or reject copy submitted for publication. Up & Coming Weekly is free of charge and distributed at indoor and outdoor locations throughout Fayetteville, Fort Bragg, Pope Army Airfield, Hope Mills and Spring Lake. Readers are limited to one copy per person. © 2020 by F&B Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of editorial or advertisements without permission is strictly prohibited. Various ads with art graphics designed with elements from: vecteezy.com and freepik.com. During the early stage of the COVID crisis in 2020, my daily commute got super easy. en it got scary hard. While my staff and I worked from home for a few weeks, we soon con- cluded that some of our tasks could only be performed effectively in the office. So we resumed normal opera- tions, albeit with some precautions. At first, my springtime commutes from southern Wake County to my Raleigh office were delightful. e highways I traversed were lightly traveled. en the speed demons took over. Whether they had always been would-be racecar drivers, or were just tempted into it by wide-open roads, I can't say. But as early as seven in the morning, I regularly encountered motorists traveling 15 miles-per-hour or more above the speed limit on Ra- leigh's Beltline and elsewhere, often dodging and weaving around slower- moving cars like mine as if they were playing some video game. In many cases I witnessed two or more drivers clearly racing each other, oblivious to or unconcerned about the lives and property put at risk by their recklessness. Today, almost three years later, I still witness the same behavior once or twice a week — only now the traffic is heavier and the hazards far greater. Are bad driving habits fostered during pandemic lockdowns the sole reason North Carolina's roads are becoming less safe? No. After falling fairly consistently since the late 1960s, highway deaths per capita started rising about a decade ago. From 2011 to 2021, they went up 33%. More than half of that increase, however, happened over just two years: 2020 and 2021. Although the number of people killed in car crashes in North Carolina in 2021 was the highest since 1973, we are a more populous state with more drivers on the road. Despite the recent increase, our death rates remain far below the carnage of the 1960s and early 1970s. Our vehicles are better designed and maintained. Most of us wear seat- belts. Laws against drunk driving are clearer and more consistently en- forced. Moreover, while North Carolina's recent uptick is worrisome — and our rate of 1.45 deaths per 100 mil- lion miles traveled is higher than the national average (1.34) — some of our nearby states are worse off, including Tennessee (1.59), Florida (1.60), West Virginia (1.66), Kentucky (1.68) and especially South Carolina (1.97). In other words, there's nothing unique about the recent increase in reckless driving on North Carolina's roads and streets. It's a broader phe- nomenon. Nevertheless, we clearly have a seri- ous problem. In most columns about such a problem, the author would conclude with a list of recommended policy changes to "fix" it. I'm not go- ing to do that. For one thing, it's not clear to me that our current laws against speeding and reckless driving are inadequate, though I'm open to the possibility that we may need to hire and deploy more police officers and state troop- ers to enforce them. As New York po- lice administrator John Hall observed in a 2021 Manhattan Institute paper, there is "considerable evidence that police traffic enforcement reduces crash injuries and fatalities." (Hall also argued that increased use of au- tomated enforcement such as traffic cameras won't do as much to help, because there isn't as much of a sig- nal to passing motorists to slow down and because officers are more likely to detect and deter misbehavior such as late-night racing.) Nor do I think North Carolina's current messaging on highway safety necessarily needs an upgrade. e Governor's Highway Safety Program, housed within DOT and ably directed by Mark Ezzell, already operates a range of awareness campaigns such as Booze It & Lose It and Speed a Little, Lose a Lot. Rather than pinning our hopes pri- marily on legislation, I think all of us should accept a share of responsibil- ity for combating the problem. Let's teach our young people to take driving seriously, control their tem- pers, and stow their devices. Let's set a good example. Let's show we know our roads aren't racetracks. Editor's note: John Hood is a John Locke Foundation board member. His latest books, Mountain Folk and Forest Folk, combine epic fantasy with early American history (FolkloreCycle. com). PUBLISHER'S PEN Don't let roads become racetracks by JOHN HOOD Highway deaths per capita started rising about a decade ago. From 2011 to 2021, they went up 33%. More than half of that increase happened over just two years: 2020 and 2021. JOHN HOOD, Board Member, John Locke Foundation. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcomingweekly.com. 910-484-6200

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