CONNECTICUT, USA — The last week in January kicked off the first Passenger Safety Week launched by the We Save Lives organization partnered with the National Road and Safety Foundation.
This week was created to empower those buckling up to speak up against impaired and distracted driving.
In 2019, 62% of crash fatalities were passengers.
"That's a huge number and just think if those passengers the ones that were able to speak up or not get in the car," said Candice Lightner, Founder of We Save Lives, highway safety advocates and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
Lightner explained it was during her talks across the country she noticed something alarming.
“I would ask how many of you ride with someone who's drunk, drugged or distracted? And I was amazed at how many people, especially MBA students, raised their hands, and when I said why a lot of them said, well, I don't know how to handle the situation. I don’t know exactly what to say," said Lightner.
One should never get in the car with someone who is under the influence. If you’re in a situation where the driver is distracted either using their cellphone, GPS, etc. there are a few things you should do like asking to make that phone call or text for them.
You can also ask the driver to pull over when it is safe to do so for your safety and the safety of others, too.
“I just think you can do this with both love and purpose. You know, just put your hands on theirs and say you know what, I love you and I love me and I want us to both be safe and I don’t want to endanger anybody else's life and you know that’s an unsafe practice" said Lightner
Creating conversations could help break the stigma among young adults. Parents are encouraged to talk to their teens before they get in the car with someone else.
"I think the thing of it is, especially with teenagers, there's that peer pressure. You know, there's that fear of speaking up for fear there'll be isolated. So the most important thing I think is to remember that your life is worth saving" explained Lightner
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Rachel Piscitelli is a reporter for FOX61 News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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