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Traffic crashes can be avoided and are rarely 'accidents'

Traffic crashes can be avoided and are rarely 'accidents'

Even though no one plans to cause a crash − that would be attempted murder − crashes happen because of distraction or failure to follow traffic laws.

When a crash happens, it is perceived to be a “tragic accident.” But when a driver negligently violates traffic laws or chooses to not pay full attention to driving, the results of those actions are not an accident and should be treated as a crime.



At one time, drunk driving and the crashes that resulted from this behavior were acceptable − just an accident − and over 50 percent of fatal crashes were alcohol related.

That started to change when victims and those who didn’t want to be victims of these crashes said: “This is not an acceptable form of homicide, it has to stop.” These advocates pushed Legislatures across the country to create and strengthen laws to make them address the seriousness of drunk driving and they also went to the public to encourage them to change behaviors.

It was a difficult process, but it is working and now instead of 50 percent alcohol involvement, it is down to less than a third of fatal traffic deaths − 34 percent last year in Minnesota. Thousands of lives were saved because of this change in attitude and policy, maybe even yours.

This same change needs to happen with non-alcohol related crashes. Minnesotans for Safe Driving, along with many other groups, want to strengthen the penalty for causing these crashes, but more than that, these groups want to stop them from ever occurring. We believe a two-prong attack is needed to save lives; increased penalties and education and awareness.

Driving has become a habit and a “secondary” activity. This is wrong. Driving must always be your number one priority. All of us have to seriously address our own personal driving behavior. Is that text worth your life or the life of someone else? Is saving a few minutes by speeding worth a child’s life or the possibility of putting a child in a wheelchair for life? Do you want to be in the position to have to apologize to the victim’s family in court or cause suffering to your family when they are notified of your death. Or the suffering you may have to go through because of the serious injury that you caused yourself?

Your car should not be your office. Multitasking is good, but not while you are driving. Be an example to your children. Traffic crashes are almost entirely avoidable, but as long as the public sees them as “accidents” the public is less likely to do anything to change their behavior.

Change needs to be made in the Legislature and in the realm of public opinion. The first step is to stop calling them accidents.

We need the public’s help in this movement to decrease traffic crashes. Everyone needs to first buckle up. It’s your first line of defense against the careless, distracted or impaired driver. Always follow traffic laws and have 100 percent of your focus on the road. Just as important is you telling your legislator that you support strong traffic safety laws and penalties.

Global , Traffic Safety

Date: 11/14/2014 12:11:59 PM

By: YASA WEB , southernminn.com
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Traffic Safety