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As spring arrives, “Drive to Save Lives” partnership blossoms

As spring arrives, “Drive to Save Lives” partnership blossoms

Traditionally, one of the first signs of spring is the sight of blooming flowers and buds, but the first day of spring this year brought something special: the blossoming of a promising new road safety partnership among DOT, the International Chiefs of Police Association, and state police and highway patrol officers from more than 40 states.

The Drive To Save Lives is a united effort to reduce highway fatalities by 15 percent in 2014.

I.A.C.P. logo

State police and highway patrol leaders from the IACP Division of State and Provincial Police will lead a sustained, data-driven effort over the course of the year focused on increasing the use of seat-belts, reducing speeding, and targeting impaired and distracted driving. The campaign will also include enforcement actions against unsafe driving of commercial motor vehicle operators.

DOT is proud to join the IACP and law enforcement across the country in this education, awareness, and high-visibility traffic enforcement initiative to change high-risk behaviors that --all too often-- lead to crashes.

Billboard ad warning drivers to stay sober

As IACP President Chief Yousry "Yost" Zakhary of Woodway, Texas, said:

"During my 34 years as a law enforcement officer, I have responded to far too many crashes caused by speeding and witnessed too many deaths because drivers and/or passengers were not wearing their seatbelts, and because of impaired and distracted driving. Crashes are preventable -- and that is what this campaign aims to do. Prevent them from occurring in the first place. Through our partnership, we will work to reduce highway deaths in 2014, and the coming years, because even one death is too many."

Photo of fatal California crash scene

Chief Zakhary is exactly right; most of 33,561 deaths on our nation's roads last year were entirely preventable. Many of them involved drunk driving, people not wearing seatbelts, excessive speeding, and driving distracted. I also want to remind readers that 46 of those fatalities were law enforcement officers killed on our roadways while working to protect our safety.

That's why we're pleased to join the International Association of Chiefs of Police and we stand ready to do our part to help them achieve their ambitious-but-attainable safety goal.

Now, it's time for you to do your part. Please, avoid these high-risk behaviors, and urge your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers to do the same.

Photo of San Diego Police officers

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Thank you!

Traffic deaths are tragic waste of lives. There is a high chance most deaths are among youngsters. It really is sad to see these fatalities while they have so much to offer to their family and to the country. It is like losing so many lives to an undeclared war. We may be a modern nation and things like wearing seat belts are so basic to even think of reminding people. Unfortunately, many motorists and their passengers are not wearing seat belts. Therefore, we constantly have to remind people its importance. Maybe video messages with what would happen if you didn't wear seat belt is a good idea. You could make videos and put them on popular (and free) video distribution sites like youtube. Everybody especially youngsters are active on those sites and they would share those videos. Parents can use them to educate young drivers in the family too.

As a 42 year veteran of law enforcement, and the father of a law enforcement officer who was killed by a texting (soon to be law enforcement officer) driver, I know the dangers first hand. Remember it is not important until it hits home. I have been talking in high schools, to students and school bus drivers, police departments, chamber of commerce safety councils, and to anybody who will listen in a program called Rusty's Story (found on facebook). It is very important that our DOT Secretary gets on board and makes distracted driving his top priority. Police departments needs to get on board and ban cell phone usage, and disable their MDT's while operating their cruisers. Officers remember by setting the example, other will follow.

Really true, it's so sad to see that so many people die because of stupid people doing stupid things like drunk driving, people not wearing seatbelts, excessive speeding, etc. The police is not out there to make it difficult for you, they are there to protect lives! Sarah
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