This I Believe

Marka - Anchorage, Alaska
Entered on October 31, 2006

This is believe

I believe we need to focus national attention on traffic safety. Everyday I drive to work and see people risking their lives and the lives of others by making seemingly simple choices. They choose to talk on their cell phone, put on make-up or change lanes without signaling. They choose to disregard traffic signals and run red lights. They choose to drive many miles per hour over a posted speed limit. They choose to drive fast through communities where my children and my neighbor’s children play.

I believe it is time to get mad about it and take back our neighborhoods and cities. Time to be civilized in a civilized country.

Look at the facts. October is being billed as the deadliest month of the war in Iraq. As of the end of this month, over 100 American soldiers were killed in Iraq. During the same time period, using Federal Highway Administration statistics, one person was killed in an intersection collision every hour—that is 744 deaths in intersections in October 2006.

I believe we need to personalize the stories of these citizens losing their lives on American roadways. Someone’s behavior change could save a life. Think about it. If we all drove the speed limit, put the cell phone away, and paid attention to traffic signals lives would be saved.

I was listening to a heart wrenching report on NPR last week about a young widow and her four now-fatherless children. Her husband was one of the Iraqi casualties. I was very moved by the article.

It made me think about my friend who lost her son on our highways several years ago. It made me think about how we spin our stories. The story I want to spin is about the other widow with four fatherless children whose husband died in a car crash. Don’t we care enough to think about changing our behavior behind the wheel. We should.

Somehow we believe that traffic crashes are “accidents” by definition – “a happening that is not expected, foreseen, or intended” “an unpleasant and unintended happening, something resulting from negligence, that results in injury.” Many of these “accidents” can be prevented with a change in behavior – our own. Think about, observe the actions of others, do the right thing when driving on our roads. We can each make a difference.

This I believe.