According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports nearly one-third of traffic related deaths in the United States is due to alcohol-impaired driving. Holiday season is here and the threat of increased alcohol-related traffic deaths and injuries is looming again. There are ways that we can reduce this suffering or stop it from happening. I am sure everybody knows how to do it but will we act on it?
Posts tagged: drinking and driving
Where is Waterloo’s most dangerous spot? What intersection has the most number of fatalities? Where is that location where cars collide causing deaths? The answer is nowhere and everywhere. Or perhaps the answer is “inside us”. We are causing our own suffering. Vehicles and roadways have improved drastically. Has the driver improved too?
Almost all of fatal crashes happened at non-intersections. Almost all involved only one vehicle. You would think in a city it happens when two cars collide. In Waterloo, fatalities have been happening at random locations. Law enforcement and engineers concentrate on problem spots. When fatalities happen at random locations there is little they can do.
Is it our driving culture? Why do we have to lose so many people who are simply going from one point to another? Should going from here to there be this dangerous? Should so many lives be lost, more than to wars and to natural disasters? Besides emotional losses, the economical losses to our society are huge. What can we do to make zero fatalities a reality? Are we too distracted? Do we not care? Why do we drink alcohol and drive? One bicycle fatality tested positive for drugs. A pedestrian fatality was possibly due to dark clothes; not visible in the dark. What will it take to make us change our culture? What will it take to make us understand moving around town is a serious business?
2011 was one of Waterloo’s worst years. Seven people were killed and many were severely injured in seven fatal accidents at random locations. These many deaths have not happened in almost 10 years. Six out of seven were single vehicle crashes. Only one happened at an intersection where two cars collided. About half of the deaths involved alcohol and drugs. Among the fatal crashes were a motorcycle passenger, a pedestrian, and a tractor driver. One fatality was due to a diabetic attack. Almost all of the deaths happened at non-intersection random locations. Six out of seven accidents involved only one vehicle. We are well into the 21st century and we die of such tragic preventable sudden deaths. What is happening to us as a society? What is causing all these deaths? Are we over-confident? Are we inattentive? Do we need more traffic safety education? Are we not aware of the dangers? Alcohol? Are traffic safety campaigns mis-directed? When fatal crashes are single-vehicles happening at random locations the burden lays almost entirely on the drivers’ shoulders.
Without a doubt, drinking and driving is a dangerous – and oftentimes deadly – combination. As a firefighter and EMT for Waterloo Fire Rescue, I’ve seen first-hand the tragedies caused by unsafe driving habits.
One incident I’ll never forget happened during one of my shifts. We were dispatched to the scene of a crash that involved a young drunk driver who was killed after running their vehicle off of the road.
Another incident I responded to involved a motorcycle crash that resulted in a fatality. It was later determined that alcohol was a factor in the crash.
Too often, drivers and innocent passengers and bystanders lose their lives due to drunk driving. But these tragedies can be prevented. Together, by practicing safe driving habits, we can change the culture of driving in the Cedar Valley.
The word is out. Drive Safe Cedar Valley – and new campaign spokesperson Nick Anderson – are on a mission to save lives. The Courier shared that news with the Cedar Valley this week. Read the article here – and help us spread the word to encourage safe driving habits!
As part of his commitment to safety awareness, Nick wants to know what worries you most – whether it’s texting, drinking and driving, or pedestrian and bike safety in the Cedar Valley. Is there a busy intersection or street in the Cedar Valley that concerns you? What kind of safety measures do you take behind the wheel? Leave a comment. Share your ideas. Because our lives are in your hands. And together, we can make the Cedar Valley a safer place to drive and live.