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Road Traffic Safety / Traffic Victims Remembrance Day

I explore an area of traffic- / transportation-related "activism" I had never spent time with before. There are large, "effective," and active organizations dedicated to making vehicle traffic less dangerous. No doubt I have benefited / been harmed less due to their efforts throughout the years. But I am not yet mature enough to not feel reflexively disgusted as I explore this area of activism. I hope my readers can use this information to build productive relationships with or at least to learn from the "traffic safety activists."

Added by colin #442 on 2004-10-23. Last modified 2005-02-22 00:23. Originally created 2004-10-23. F0 License: Attribution
Location: World
Topics: activism, pro-car, road traffic safety

In The San Diego Union-Tribune on Saturday October 16, 2004 was an event listing for Traffic Victims Rememberance Day. This brought to mind efforts of carfree and transportation activists to commemmorate the 1899 death by automobile of pedestrian Henry Bliss in New York City.

I called the number for Bill Dawson, the event organizer. The carfree movement was news to him. They were going to remember all those who had been killed in traffic crashes, including Bill's daughter Renee Eleonor Dawson, and learn about ways to make traffic less dangerous.

Bill told me about PleaseNotifyMe.org where you can register your next of kin's contact information and then carry a card that refers officials to the web site in the event you are ever rendered incommunicado by a car crash or other harm. I believe Bill said they already have one million registrants, and they started in 1994.

Before I continue my ramble, you'll probably be more interested in the following:

More links to Traffic Safety orgs:

  • The Partnership for Safe Driving's petition to the US Congress to establish a national safe driving campaign. If you need anti-car statistics go to that report... try not to be offended by the conclusion.
  • Road Peace UK (definitely not pro-car! Thank goodness.)
  • European Federation of Road Traffic Victims
  • Chula Vista PD's PR
  • Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (quite car-centric)
  • AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety You have got to see their FY2004 project, Getting Around: Alternatives for Seniors Who No Longer Drive:
    Part of living a long life includes the distinct possibility that at some point driving will no longer be an option. Therefore, considering future mobility options is an important aspect of “successful” aging. However, many older drivers are reluctant to give up the keys and families find that it is extremely difficult to discuss safe driving or the need to stop driving with their aging family members. […] Working with a large DMV, the group will help individuals who voluntarily or involuntarily give up driving. This pilot will demonstrate ways in which a network of community agencies can respond to issues of driving. […] This project will use information from those projects and other research to educate about the decision to stop driving and what to do after giving up the keys.

Ramble continued:

There is a note on that site for the Balboa Park, San Diego event that was advertized in the paper:

This statewide officially recognized day allows families to speak from the heart to encourage safer driving and safer roads. The sad reality is every day people die in California as the result of traffic collisions, and many more are injured. The effects of these fatalities and injuries are widespread; the sense of tragedy is increased with the understanding that these collisions are, in many ways, avoidable.

It's not exactly that surprising to find a traffic safety institute here at San Diego State.

Here is more from a press release from that institute, the California Institute of Traffic Safety:

“Tragedies have inspired grieving family members to become active traffic safety advocates” says Dr. Sarkar, “Bill and Rae Dawson, who lost their High School aged daughter Renee two years ago, are an example who have become strong advocates of traffic safety and encouraging individuals to be organ donors. As Bill Dawson said, “Our Renee died while driving home from high school on a country road partially because she was distracted for some reason that we will never know but can only speculate about. We must also be aware that the road she was driving on was designed and built decades ago when cars were a little slower and the traffic was much lighter. The roads of the past are in many ways no match for the traffic loads that we now experience in the 21st century. All of us must be aware that distracted driving in all of its degrees is at best dangerous and at it's worst deadly. But we must also remember the roads which we casually use every day without giving them a second thought can be a significant contributing factor in our very safety and even our lives.”

This event offers a venue to learn about our unsung heroes, such as Bill and Rae, who are tirelessly working to save lives.

This event will be recognized through a resolution by Assemblywoman Christine Kehoe and Senator Dede Alpert. Family members of the victims will be invited to participate and share personal stories of how their lives have been changed by a traffic collision and loss of a loved one. Traffic safety advocates from many different agencies will also speak. Traffic safety advocates, law enforcement, family members, and friends will wear the black and gold pins and ribbons in remembrance of those who have been lost.

Colin Leath <>    

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