Click It or Ticket This Memorial Day Weekend
May 23, 2013
Wearing your seat belt is one of the best ways to protect yourself from a drunk driver. And since this weekend is Memorial Day weekend, we know there are likely to be more drunk drivers on the road. In 2011, 161 people were killed in drunk driving crashes over Memorial Day weekend (Friday 5/27 at 6:00 p.m. through Tuesday 5/31 at 5:59 a.m.). These deaths accounted for 40 percent of all highway fatalities during the time period, compared to an average of 31 percent for the year as a whole.
NHTSA’s 2013 Click It or Ticket enforcement mobilization runs from May 20 to June 2—just in time for the holiday weekend. Seat belt use saves thousands of lives across America each year. In 2011 alone, seat belts saved an estimated 11,949 lives nationwide.
In 2011, of the 21,253 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed in motor vehicle crashes nationwide, 52 percent were NOT wearing seat belts at the time of their fatal crashes. Younger motorists—young men in particular—are most at risk. Among teens and young adults, ages 18-34, who were killed in fatal crashes in 2011, 64 percent were NOT buckled up at the time of the crash—the highest percentage of any age group.
The national Click It or Ticket mobilization has increased seat belt use and saved many lives over the years, but there is still much more that can be done. High-visibility enforcement and encouraging loved ones to buckle up can turn lives lost into lives saved. So this Memorial Day weekend (and every day of the year), make sure to designated a non-drinking driver if your plans include alcohol, and always buckle up.
Scars, Seen and Unseen – 1988 Kentucky Bus Crash 25th Anniversary
May 20, 2013
Every face was a canvas of deep emotion. Tears of remembrance and heartache painted their cheeks. Their rocky ascent out of the dark hole had been daunting. Nevertheless, it was clear they stood victorious at the top…..Together! So too, tears of reunion and victory sparkled like diamonds in so many eyes.
I was humbled to be even a small part of something so powerful. On the 25th anniversary date of the Kentucky bus crash, survivors, family members and friends of those who died and those who survived gathered to honor those caught in the inflamed bus. The first ceremony of remembrance was in that very school, but many of the survivors still were hospitalized and unable to attend. This time they came with their families, their friends, their spouses and their children, some the very age their parents were on that fateful trip to Kings Island. I observed the faces in the audience as victims and survivors spoke so eloquently. The bond was tangible and the love profound.
Many wore the scars seared into their skin from the flames 25 years ago. To me, they were exquisitely beautiful and regal. I can only imagine their struggle as they grew up, and yet today they do not hide, but wear them with dignity. They joined with family members of those who died to cherish the memories and celebrate their lives.
Harold Dennis, one of the survivors, has partnered with a writer, director, and other producers to launch the film IMPACT: AFTER THE CRASH. They recreated the horror of the crash and then magnificently unfolded the inspiration of human resilience and fortitude that followed. Many family members and survivors wove the stories of their experiences and reactions as they moved forward in their new lives. A private showing of the movie was received with praise and gratitude from survivors and family members of those who died. The community was invited to see the film the following day and it again brought accolades.
I cannot stop thinking about the events of the past few days. I cannot stop thinking about the surviving families. Each person touched my spirit. My heart continues to be filled with tears – tears of admiration. They inspire me. They have refueled my commitment to do everything possible to end this violence once and for all. They have refueled my determination to see the day when there will be no more tears caused by drunk driving.
Tennessee Governor Signs All-Offender Interlock Law
May 20, 2013
Last week, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed into law a bill that requires all convicted drunk drivers use ignition interlocks on their vehicles to prevent future offenses.
Requiring all convicted drunk drivers to use ignition interlocks to prove they are sober before they can start their vehicles has been shown to save lives and stop drunk driving. Arizona, Oregon, New Mexico and Louisiana, have seen a reduction in DUI deaths by 33 to 46 percent, largely due to these comprehensive laws requiring all drunk drivers to receive an interlock.
The bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Tony Shipley of Kingsport and Republican Sen. Mae Beavers of Mt. Juliet, was unanimously approved 95-0 in the House and 31-0 in the Senate. MADD applauds Tennessee legislators for passing this lifesaving legislation.
Not every state is protected by these lifesaving laws, so find out if your state requires ignition interlocks for all DUI offenders and take action.
Learn more about ignition interlocks and the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving®.