Keeping the Safety Tree green

Published 5:29 pm Friday, December 4, 2020

The Pilot Club of Suffolk recently lit its annual Safety Tree to promote traffic safety this holiday season.

For more than 40 years, the Pilot Club of Suffolk has put up its Safety Tree as a reminder to the city to be alert while traveling, as more people are on the road than usual.

“The tree displays all green lights, and we hope it to stay green all of December,” said Cathy Richards, president of the Pilot Club of Suffolk.


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The tree proudly stands in front of the Elks Lodge at 329 W. Constance Road. The tree’s green lights are lit every year on Dec. 1, and for every traffic fatality in December, a Suffolk Police officer will change a green light to red.

According to a press release from AAA, speed-related fatalities in Hampton Roads have risen 51% compared to 2019 due to aggressive driving despite the pandemic and lockdowns.

“Speeding, red-light running, and cutting off other drivers can kill you, your passengers, and others sharing the road,” said Holly Dalby, AAA Tidewater Virginia’s director of public affairs. “Driving aggressively isn’t worth the risk. When you get behind the wheel, be patient, be kind and obey traffic laws, so everyone gets home safely.”

By sharing the road, not driving while impaired and extending some patience, Suffolk can keep the Safety Tree green all month long.

Richards wanted to give kudos to those who help the Pilot Club of Suffolk make this tree possible this year. The Knights of Columbus Suffolk generously donated a tree from its lot at 2432 Pruden Blvd. and have contributed in past years as well. The Elks Lodge has kindly hosted the tree on their property, and the Suffolk Police Department takes on the responsibility of changing the red bulbs.

“We want people to slow down, drive safely and pay attention,” said Richards. “This tree is a reminder to drive safely while traveling for the holidays.”