Last year was a busy time for We Save Lives and our volunteers. Our ongoing efforts to save lives include legislative advocacy,
||Sarah Leming and Sidney Lawrence, Metro Office
educating students and others through our speakers' bureau and social media and promoting the Courage to Intervene Promise. We also developed outstanding educational videos and posters on the 3D's and
tackled our first distracted driving case in San Diego, California, through our victim advocacy program. The defendant was
found guilty. We also moved! We are now in Arlington, Virginia and if you are in the area, stop by the office for a visit.
Drunk and Drugged Driving:
Thanks to our partners at Y & R, We Save Lives announced a new anti-drunk driving campaign,
Reflections from Inside
. This video shows the
reactions from patrons at a bar bathroom who are faced with the reflections of Kris Caudilla, a convicted drunk driver currently serving 15 years for vehicular manslaughter in a Florida prison. Reflections has been viewed more than 200 million times in every country we can think of and transcribed into numerous languages. It was featured on NBC news with Lester Holt,
Huffington Post, among other press, plus shown on Omelet and other major FB sites. We are proud to say, the impact has been phenomenal! The comments numbered in the thousands and many came from people who drove drunk and said this video made them stop. Others came from victims, survivors, law enforcement and people who had never been affected by the crime but thought it was so powerful they shared it with their friends who drink and drive. It continues to be shown in driver education schools, VIP panels, law enforcement training and high schools.
We continue to
support the implementation of pilot
programs. 24/7 is
an evidence-based, innovative criminal justice concept with a non-traditional approach to reducing recidivism in crimes that have a nexus to alcohol or drug abuse
for both drunk and drugged driving. A number of states are implementing this program with more to follow. We believe that impaired driving is a multiple faceted problem that deserves a number of solutions for consideration, such as ignition interlocks, 24/7, swift and sure punishment and more.
has been the leader in advocating for anti-drugged driving legislation especially roadside
around the country including California, Vermont, and Michigan. Drug testing not only helps us determine how serious the problem is but quickly removes the drivers from the road and aids in prosecution. We partnered with law enforcement, citizen advocates and others to convince legislators drugged driving is as serious as drunk driving and needs to be addressed.
We partnered with DUID Victim Voices and promoted our
on drugged driving to members of Congress, educating them and others about the need to increase our testing, separate DUI alcohol and DUID statute citation numbers,
provide additional training for Drug Recognition Experts, and more.
In April I was invited to speak in New York at the Americas Regional Meeting of the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy on Cannabis Policy, Cannabis Summit in New York City. Our topic was We Save Lives- What to do about DUID? A National Perspective on Drugged Driving Laws. We also showed our video,
The Weed Advisor.
We encouraged the Cannabis community to work with us and other advocates to discourage driving under the influence of pot.
We supported efforts to toughen the laws on distracted driving in a number of states including Michigan, Arizona, Texas, Florida and Rhode Island. Some of these bills did not pass and we will be back again this year making an even bigger push to get the word out about how dangerous this behavior is and why we should make this a primary offense, increase the fines and implement tougher sanctions. We are never going to make this driving behavior socially unacceptable if we do nothing or give perpetrators a slap on the wrist.
Did you know
that the number of distracted driving incidents is probably
than the statistics report? It is very difficult for law enforcement to catch drivers' texting or even using their cell-phones. Police say it is hard to see someone texting and driving and they can't always prove they were on a cell phone when caught. Unless they see a cell phone they may not have enough probable cause to make a stop. This is one of the reasons why so many people do it, because they can, until they kill someone or themselves. People are also addicted to cell phones. That is why the best solution is to turn the phone off when driving.
Therefore . . .
to encourage Apple and other Mobile device makers to add the word
Drive Mode to their devices. This campaign was later supported by NHTSA when they called on device makers to do the same. We were joined by anti-distracted driving advocates Elissa Blanken, Jeri Dye Lynch, Jacy Good and a number of other victims and survivors who believe mobile device makers need to do more to stop distracted driving. We were also supported by many of our partners including Safe Roads Alliance, End Distracted Driving and the Conor Lynch Foundation who promoted the petition. We are grateful to
a We Save Lives sponsor, who supported this campaign and aided our efforts to get the word out about the dangers of driving distracted.
We also conducted a survey on distracted driving apps in conjunction with the University of Kansas and Dr. Paul Atchley a WSL advisor, which we hope to publish within the next few months.
Our advocacy continues through our social media campaigns, where we reach more than half a million people, our newsletters, speaking engagements, meeting with legislators and encouraging our 3D Lifesavers to take action whenever possible.
Outreach and Education
outdid themselves this year appearing at high schools, church and community groups and highway safety events, promoting education about the 3D's and the Courage to Intervene
They did this at their own expense and we are grateful for their dedication and belief in the cause.
I, too, have done my fair share of
||Darryl Rodgers at Vision Zero
- Professor of Practice at Columbia Business School - who teaches the most popular leadership course on campus called "Personal Leadership & Success" offered to MBAs, Executive MBAs, and Executive Education participants from around the world. The course is based on breakthrough research in psychology, neuroscience
and other scientific disciplines, and a rigorous study of the inner lives of great leaders. Apparently my story is one of the examples they cite when teaching the course. I am honored. I spoke there
several times last year and continue to speak this year. I talk about leadership and the joys and perils of beginning again in the age of modern technology. However, the talk always comes around to my soapbox, the 3D's and
how the participants can make a difference by just changing the
signature on their cell phone. ("Sent from my iPhone but not while driving")
Many of them do! I not only get to share my journey as a highway safety activist but I also participate in some of the class exercises. It is a great experience and I am meeting some
fantastic people. Please see our
to learn how to contact us if you need a speaker for your
We continue to advocate to anyone and everyone, especially the media to use the word crash, wreck, collision and in the case of drunk and drugged driving, after the conviction, the word crime. We have had several victories and with our partners in the Crash Coalition, especially Jeff Larason, we launched a campaign directed at AP Stylebook
to change their definition of their policy regarding the word accident and we succeeded thanks to all of you who joined in.
We are now
egregious use of the word on our website and in our social media asking people to contact the networks directly to encourage them to change their policy.
Let's all join in to make 2017 the last year that accident is used when talking about crashes!
Courage to Intervene
I will always believe that the best way to stop others from driving dangerously, is if everyone had the
Courage to Intervene
when you see someone getting ready to do something life threatening. This is why I plan to work even harder this year raising money to help us implement this program across the country. I have seen it work and it will be my personal mission to see this program come to fruition. I support legislative efforts (after all I have been involved in the passage of hundreds of bills) but if everyone had the
Courage to Intervene
eliminate at least a third of the problems
we now face on our highways. This should be part of our curricula whenever educating about the 3 D's.
Sponsors and Partners
We welcomed several new sponsors to our growing list of companies who support our efforts in saving lives and have long been advocates of highway safety issues through their products and their good will. We want to thank Draeger, Sentinel, and Alcolock for helping us spread the word about the dangers of the 3 D's. We also want to thank our ongoing sponsors for continuing their much needed support, Alere and Driving Test.org. We could not exist without their financial contributions and we are deeply grateful. We Save Lives added a number of new partners in 2016 including NOYS, American Association of Safety Councils, The National Road Safety Foundation, Safe Roads Alliance, Northeast Florida Safety Council, the Milt Olin Foundation, MOMS, SAFE, and
. We Save Lives believe strongly believes that "together everyone achieves more." And you can't achieve too much when it comes to saving lives by joining our efforts.
This is not just about us. It is about you and all you continue to do through your advocacy, sponsorships, partnerships and your willingness to "Take Action" when it counts. We thank you for your support, your
and your willingness to help us continue to make your journey safer whenever you travel. Although we are not a multi-million dollar organization with hundreds of staff, we still manage to accomplish quite a bit. This is mainly thanks to our volunteers and our wonderful small team of professionals who handle our website and Facebook postings. We would like to thank TechRiver, and RelyOn Creative for their patience and dedication in helping us spread the word about the importance of driving safely. I think Chris and Yuriy are tired of explaining to me how to determine how many likes we have on FB.
We also want to express our appreciation to our wonderful and committed
Board of Directors and Advisory Board.
They are there when we need them and offer more than just advice and guidance on our activities. They even do newsletter editing!
We look forward to another productive year with your continued support and we wish you a happy and safe 2017.