- Although Tallahassee has a population of roughly 200,000, we
average roughly one traffic fatality every two to three months--and
a pedestrian/cyclist fatality only once a year. Especially near the
three college campuses in town, this surprises me that they're
not weekly occurances.
Usually, these accidents are responded to with a brief article in
the local newspaper explaining how the accident happened.
Here's a pattern I've noticed:
- If a pedestrian or cyclist was killed, either (a) s/he was drunk, or
(b) she was out at night or in the rain without proper lighting. Of
course, this makes it "their fault".
- If a driver was killed, they usually were not wearing a seat belt. If
alcohol was involved, the newspaper will mention that too.
- If the driver was a high school student, the death will spark area
high schools to aggressively state that you should not drive
drunk or without a seatbelt, since most of the time, one of those
two situations most likely caused the student to die.
During spring break week of 2000, a few students of my former
high school was in an SUV, no seatbelts, high-school-age drunk
driver, racing back to their parents' house on a nearby vacation
island. The SUV flipped, and one of them died. The school and
family of the dead student launched a massive "Buckle up for
Dale" campaign with bumper stickers, billboards, and the like. I
heard reports that high school students were driving away from
his funeral--without seat belts. Why? Because it won't happen to
them, of course. To this say, you see vehicles with "Buckle up for
Dale" bumper stickers with no occupants wearing seat belts.
It is going to be extremely hard to get across the point of how
dangerous auto use really is. Again--it'll never happen to me.
Ever. That's what Dale said too. Plus, many Americans continue
their perception of auto use as the safest mode of transportation,
> Each year, one of the reporters should contact the families orfriends
> on those killed the _previous_ year to see if they have doneanything
> during the subsequent year to reduce the chance that they oranother
> loved one would die on the roads in the future. It is this lack ofthe
> followup action (and even the feeling that the world can change
> situation) that we should be exposing.
> Chris Bradshaw