- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Leonardtown residents may have noticed an increased police presence in the area lately, which Sgt. Michael Butler of the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office said Monday has contributed to a decrease in traffic violations in the area.
“Since the beginning of February we’ve actually implemented a traffic initiative just to address some of the issues we’ve had with speeding complaints and some of the accidents and things like that,” Butler said at the town council meeting Monday, “and we’ve also been working with some of the school bus complaints with cars just blowing by the school buses as the kids are boarding, so we’ve written some $560 citations for that as well.”
Butler said that speeding has been a problem in Leonardtown for some time, with many drivers ignoring the 40 mph signs and exceeding the limits during rush-hour traffic in the mornings and afternoons.
“We’ve been conducting enforcement out there during those times just to say, ‘Hey, we’re out here ... please slow down,’” Butler said. “But I think now you could sit out there and see the traffic has actually slowed down. It’s such a difference that we’ve made and we’re going to continue to do that, because we want people to know that just because people don’t see us, it doesn’t mean we’re not out there.”
Butler added that other problem areas stem from the lack of turn lanes and center medians on stretches of Route 5 near Moakley Street and Cedar Lane Road, and that drivers should continue to remain cautious and alert when approaching those areas.
“They can be traveling as slow as 40 miles per hour through there, but if they’re not paying attention to the car in front of them, an accident is going to happen,” he said. “It’s a problem and we’re addressing it, but I think we’ve got a good handle on it so far.”
“You really do have to pay attention through there,” added Council Member Leslie Roberts. “You cannot take your eye off the road for a minute.”
But many drivers are still distracted by the use of cell phones, Butler noted.
“It’s actually a secondary violation, so if we notice, say, someone crossing the centerline or something like that, we can address that first, and then write actually cite them for the cell phone, too, if we see it in use at the time,” Butler said, noting that “a few” citations have been written for the infraction as of late.
“I just really appreciate that he’s taken over the community policing” in Leonardtown said Mayor J. Harry “Chip” Norris III, of Butler. “It’s really made a difference.”