October 4 – 8 is Drive Safely Work Week. This years’ campaign is about the dangers of distracted of driving, and is sponsored by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety. How many persons on our nation’s roads drive trucks or buses for a living? They have the responsibility to focus on driving safely every day. The rest of us should do the same.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 40,000 Americans die on our highways every year. Every twelve minutes someone dies in a vehicular accident on U.S. Roads. Every 10 seconds someone is injured and has to be taken to an Emergency Room. It is also estimated that in addition to the 40,000 Americans who die annually, another 270,000 are hospitalized, resulting in costs exceeding ninety-nine billion dollars to states and our nation. Even though the NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration) says vehicle fatalities have declined in recent years due to newer vehicles having better safety features, and seat belt use has improved, the number of traffic deaths caused by distracted driving has increased.
The agency reports that distracted drivers cause 4 out of 5 motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. The main distractions are cell phones and gadgets. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that more than 500,000 persons are injured and nearly 6,000 die in accidents annually caused by distracted drivers.
If you think you have already read the above article, you have! The following comment was sent to me from Teresa Breen, and it is an important message that I want to share with all our readers. Please give her comment extra special attention:
“We lost our son March 15, 2009 because he was texting while driving. He had everything going for him, he was just 23, a United States Marine and father and he let something as silly as texting take his life. I have made it a point in my life to speak and teach any and everyone I can on these dangers so maybe just one family will not have to go thru the pain and suffering we go thru everyday. Please look at your last text and tell me, is it really worth dying over or possibly killing someone else?? Thank you,”
After reading her comment, I asked permission to share this message with our readers, and this was her response:
“PLEASE share, my husband and myself have made it our mission now to get our sons story out there and pray that it saves just one life. I am not sure I mentioned but we have done a PSA/Documentary for AT&T and also for a company named Motion Masters a learning video that is for schools and businesses. Your life is changed forever and there is not a waking second that you do not think of your child, a parent is not supposed to bury their child… Keep the articles going.. God Bless..”
So, again: put down the cell phone, or turn it off. Those messages will be there when you are able to stop. The cost of human life is worth more than some conversation on the phone. Things can happen too quickly, especially when we are behind the wheel. If you have to make a call, by all means, pull over and stop. You will be much safer, and so will the others that are sharing the road with you.