Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman John F. Herrity, whose publicized poor driving habits have pushed him perilously close to losing his license, stopped along the campaign trail yesterday to address some people more visible on the road than he is: Domino's Pizza employes.
"I've made a few mistakes in terms of my driving habits, and I certainly hope you won't make the same mistakes," Herrity said at a Domino's safe-driving seminar. The board chairman has been ticketed in Virginia at least seven times since 1985 on various driving infractions, and has been found guilty at least six times.
Herrity, a Republican running for reelection, now has a chauffeur drive him to campaign appearances, including the safe-driving seminar at Reston's South Lakes High School yesterday. Frank Meeks, who owns the Washington franchise for Domino's, is one of Herrity's biggest campaign contributors.
A recent Washington Post campaign poll indicated that 13 percent of the supporters of his challenger, Supervisor Audrey Moore (D-Annandale), mentioned Herrity's driving record or legal problems as the reason they are supporting her.
But Herrity and Moore have collided on a driving issue before. He was the only county supervisor who did not endorse a 1985 effort initiated by Moore to persuade Virginia to pass a law requiring seat belt use.
Herrity complained at the time that police would not be able to enforce a seat belt law and that such a measure infringed on personal rights. He said during the debate that the Moore proposal was an example of another unnecessary law being "foisted on the public."
Virginia's seat belt law took effect this year.
Herrity kept his remarks to the 250 pizzeria employes brief -- about a minute.
Also present at the Domino's event was Linda Douglas, the Republican candidate for the Board of Supervisors in the Centreville district. She is running against incumbent Martha Pennino, the board vice chairman and a Democratic supervisor since 1968.
After ascertaining that about half the young pizzeria workers in the audience were eligible to vote, she repeated her name three times -- "Linda Douglas, Linda Douglas, Linda Douglas" -- and said: "I think this area needs new blood, not tired blood."
She also thanked the fast-food pizza business for making her hectic campaign schedule possible: "When you are running for office, you are literally running for office, and you kids know what running is all about."
Yesterday's featured speaker was neither Herrity nor Douglas, but Pete Collins, a Mississippi state trooper who last year traveled more than 150,000 miles around the country, speaking 614 times to more than 250,000 people about safe driving.
The purpose of yesterday's seminar was to encourage safe driving habits among Domino employes working in the Tysons Corner to Reston area, said David Delgado, director of area marketing and training. It is the first such event of its kind to be held by the pizza company in the Washington area.
Fairfax County Police Capt. Richard J. Rappoport, commander of the Reston district station, said Domino's drivers are not involved in an inordinate number of traffic accidents, but that people tend to remember those that occur because of the drivers' uniforms and cars.
Herrity is scheduled to appear in Fairfax County Circuit Court on Oct. 22 to contest a speeding ticket -- for driving 41 mph in a 25 mph zone in Falls Church in January 1986, according to court records.
Herrity has amassed 19 points against his driver's license since October 1985. Under Virginia law, a driver who accumulates 18 points in two years could have his license revoked, if state officials decide to act.
A driver who receives 24 points in the same period automatically loses his license.
Although Herrity's infractions earned him 24 points in the last two years, he was able to deduct five points from his total by attending a state driving-improvement clinic in January.