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Thanks for safe driving

For only the fourth or fifth time since the Pilot Club of Suffolk started its Safety Tree project 30-plus years ago, the tree stayed green all month long this December.

The tree is lit with green bulbs every Dec. 1, but if a traffic fatality occurs sometime in December, the Suffolk Police Department will stop by and replace a green bulb with a red one.

The idea behind the Safety Tree is to bring attention to safe driving during a month that typically has more fatal car crashes than most other times of the year.

The statistics have been listed on this page fairly recently, but they bear repeating.

A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report from 2005 analyzed traffic crash data from 1975 to 2002 and found Dec. 23 and Dec. 24 were two of the four deadliest days for fatal traffic crashes, together with July 3 and July 4. Dec. 23 and Jan. 1 were also the two deadliest days for pedestrians during the same time period.

Also according to that report, December had one of the highest fatality rates per vehicle miles traveled throughout that time period, comparable to October and only slightly lower than September.

In Suffolk, however, our residents and visitors looked out for one another this year, and the city made it through December without any fatal car crashes. This was after the first six months of 2017 saw a steep rise in the number of traffic fatalities on Suffolk roads, compared to the same time period in the prior five years.

Every person who drove on a Suffolk roadway during December contributed to this remarkable accomplishment, and we appreciate each and every one of you for helping to keep our roadways safe.