Focus on safety all year

Published 9:01 pm Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The Pilot Club of Suffolk every year sponsors the Safety Tree, a visual reminder to drivers to transit safely during the busy holiday season.

The tree is lit with green bulbs on Dec. 1, and for each traffic fatality on the city’s roadways during December, one bulb is switched from green to red.

Only a handful of Decembers since the start of this project have ended with all green bulbs. Unfortunately, this year was not one of them.

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The two red bulbs on the tree this year represented two women who died in separate crashes that were just about as far apart as they could get and still both be in Suffolk. One represents 57-year-old Karen Louise Grieser of Hampton, who died in a multi-vehicle crash at the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel on Dec. 16. The other is 31-year-old Shonta L. Clark of Capron, who died in a Dec. 10 crash at Route 58 westbound, at the intersection of Franklin Bypass and South Quay Road.

While losing someone in a car crash is always tragic, suffering the death during the holiday season adds a layer of sorrow. Family members and friends will forever remember the tragedy during what’s supposed to be the happiest time of the year.

The Safety Tree is no longer lit, but the families of Grieser and Clark will not be far from our thoughts in the days and weeks ahead. And we encourage everyone to renew their focus on safe driving every month throughout the year, not just in December.