Son’s Text Stirs Emotions and Makes Me Think of Safety as We Know It

I wanted to reach out today to share the story of what I woke up to and how it brought so many thoughts to mind and stirred so many emotions.

I received a text from my son, Bradley, who is a paramedic. He had just responded to a crash involving a drunk driver on I-35. The driver was on the wrong side of the road, traveling at an estimated speed 75 mph and crashed head-on into roadway equipment in a construction area. The driver required medical attention. His vehicle was totaled.

I realized Bradley is not the only one I know working on the frontline during the rapidly evolving coronavirus pandemic. Three of my immediate family members are still on the road daily without a remote option due to the nature of their work (first-responder, agriculture food supply and fresh food supply). In fact, Bradley is working his regular 24-hour shifts and, in some cases, exceeding 72-96 hours weekly because of on-call needs.

COVID-19 is having a significant impact on traffic safety programs around the country, and it is understandable why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, National Safety Council, Texas Department of Transportation and others are postponing traffic safety events, including Distracted Driving Awareness Month, National Heatstroke Awareness Day and Click It or Ticket campaigns. TxDOT also is postponing statewide motorcycle safety, impaired driving and general topics campaigns.

A few months back, I started using the hashtag #DriveSafe365 in our program’s social media outreach as a way to show that while our campaigns are very targeted, often timely and topical, we view safe driving as an everyday, year-round expectation, and that is true even in today’s uncharted and ever-changing climate.

And, even with fewer drivers on the road, safe driving behaviors can be impacted by stress and distraction due to the events of the world. I simply wanted to share that our work continues with sensitivity and a continued commitment to safety.

Be safe.

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