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Cast the Shadow of a Safety Leader

In February, a famous little groundhog climbs out of his burrow, makes a bold prediction and then for all practical purposes disappears for another year. Does that sound like anyone you know?

It’s one thing to put on a show or talk a big traffic safety game. It’s another all together to deliver the goods. Like Punxsutawney Phil, will you see your driving shadow because the weather is clear and retreat to your den and your bad habits? Or will the cloudiness of the day spring you toward safety in the coming months?

Don’t be too quick to answer. In a public opinion poll conducted by the National Safety Council, 67% of respondents said they felt they were at risk because another driver was distracted by technology. Yet, only 25% felt their own distraction from technology put themselves or others at risk. I’d call this a classic example of that old mantra at work anew: Do as I say, not as I do.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation:

  • 1 in 5 crashes on state roads involves distracted driving
  • Nearly one-third of all traffic fatalities are linked to DUI-alcohol
  • 68 crashes every day are the result of following too closely

Let me suggest a five-step approach to change driver behavior:

  1. Put your cell phone away and drive distraction free
  2. Buckle up – every seat, every time, even in ride-share service vehicles
  3. Drive to conditions and keep your speed down
  4. Avoid tailgating and road rage
  5. Never drive impaired by alcohol, drugs or when drowsy

Shadows of leaders extend far behind their own small burrows.

– Lisa Robinson is a senior program manager at the National Safety Council

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