We have all had experiences with the unpleasantries of bureaucracy whether on the municipal, county, state, or federal level. It can be very frustrating which no doubt is partly responsible for the associated negative stereotypes involved.
None of us enjoy having to “jump through “certain hoops. If we are honest with ourselves, there are times when we are impatient and our expectations unreasonable.
However, there are other times when bureaucracy is woefully indifferent and morally inexcusable. I was reminded of this recently.
On June 5, 20117, my older daughter was driving my younger daughter to school along Limecrest Road in Andover Township. The wet road in view, Route 669, is under the jurisdiction of Sussex County Department of Public Works. Near Pinkney Road, there are some curves that have historically proven to be very hazardous when wet or icy resulting in hydroplaning.
There are no warning signs of the perilous condition to be found. The posted speed limit is 40 mph on the straight-away and the posted speed limit for the curves is 35 mph. This minor speed reduction is woefully inadequate to prevent or reduce the risk of hydroplaning when the road surface is wet or icy.
My daughters were in a car on Route 669 traveling the speed limit. The car hydroplaned and due to the relatively steep embankment proximal to the road it caused the vehicle to roll eventually landing upside down. The weight of the inverted body of the car crushed the roof of the car with my beloved daughters inside the automobile. The scene was horrific.
Both my daughters were rushed to Morristown Medical Center via respective paramedic teams. My younger daughter incurred bruises and other musculature trauma. My older daughter incurred the same along with a severe concussion from which she is still convalescing.
Police, paramedics, towing agents, and bystanders agreed that the road area in question is known by locals for having a notorious history of such accidents involving hydroplaning. Here is where the absurdity of bureaucracy becomes frighteningly apparent.
Although my daughter who drove the vehicle did not speed or drive recklessly, she was issued a summons for not driving “…as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane…until the driver has first ascertained that the movement can be made with safety”. She received 2 points and a fine of $214 before a very unsympathetic, even indifferent, Andover Municipal Court.
When seeking respectfully to determine why no warning signs are posted in the respective area of the road resulting in these accidents, I was simply told we [the town] have contacted Sussex County about the matter repeatedly to no vail. Subsequently, my written appeal was forwarded to the Sussex County Department of Public Works.
The lives of my daughters were rescued by the Lord as chance, or luck, has no heart! What will it take to have the necessary and perhaps life-saving warning signs posted in both lanes near the location in question? Must someone die? Must a devastated parent bury a beloved child?
I am not asking for an in-depth study of the drainage gradient at the location although I suspect it may be insufficient. I am not asking for the re-pavement of asphalt wear, erosion, and tire-rutting. I am simply asking someone in the bureaucracy of either Andover Township or Sussex County to post these signs out of both a legal and moral responsibility.
If you believe no parent should have to bury their or her child then please contact the Sussex County and Andover Township Departments of Public Works to respectfully voice your concerns about this issue. Your caring voice may indeed save a life. Thank you.