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Editorial from the Telegram for May 26

Bridgeport should be lauded for stricter road law enforcement

Bridgeport is one north central West Virginia city that has decided to use action rather than words to more strictly enforce traffic laws for the protection of its citizens. And we applaud them for it.

Police in Bridgeport plan to crack down on such things as misuse of the turning lane on Johnson Avenue, speeding on West Main Street and running stop signs and red lights, to mention a few.

Drivers who are cited for breaking the traffic laws will face either a $127 fine for a moving violations -- including court costs -- or a $50 fine for speeding, which doesn't include the $52 court costs, plus a dollar for each mile over the speed limit.

Last week there was an instance in which a motorist was clocked at traveling 38 miles per hour in a school zone while the 15 mph yellow lights were flashing. That's a fine of $125. Who's willing to chance that he won't be caught or that he may strike a child?

We recently editorialized about a nationwide crackdown against running red lights. More area cities and towns should put some teeth into enforcing that law and others, in addition to state police and sheriffs departments. Most of us learned in the first grade -- or before that -- that red means stop.

That motorist who violates traffic laws is running a great risk of receiving a quite costly citation, and that's only if he's lucky. If he's involved in a collision with another vehicle or his car strikes a pedestrian, he's facing the guilt of causing serious injury or death to other people or paying out the nose for property damage, not to mention a steep increase in his insurance premium.

The recent addition of the middle turning lane on Johnson Avenue has made traffic in front of Johnson Elementary, Bridgeport Middle and Bridgeport High schools move more smoothly.

So to us, it seems that stricter enforcement of traffic laws is the next logical step.

We hope Clarksburg and other surrounding police departments will also stiffen their penalties to put scofflaws in their proper place.

-- Robert F. Stealey