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National Road Safety Week is a necessary reminder

INational Road Safety Week is a Necessary Reminder learned yesterday that my mother’s cancer has returned, with a vengeance. She had fought hard, and won the battle a few years ago, but this go-around there is no hope to overcome the disease. I felt devastated by the news.

This morning, I gained some perspective. When researching my column topic I stumbled on a news story about Hannah, a five year girl who has lost her battle with cancer and whose mother is taking her home from BC Children’s Hospital to die. I still feel devastated, but it is now more difficult to wallow in self-pity.

Virtually all of us have been touched by the disease, with so many like Hannah and her mother clobbered over the head with a sledge hammer by it. This has led to enormous financial resources being put into medical science while we anxiously wait for a cure, each of us singularly helpless to do anything more.

For some reason, though, when there is a cause of injury and death that each of us singularly can do so much to help eradicate, without putting forth one dollar of financial commitment, we seem to lack the motivation.

I am referring to road safety. Thank you to the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and the full, national participation of Canadian police services, for their annual initiative to help motivate us.

Canada Road Safety Week, timed in conjunction with the crash prevalence of the Victoria Day holiday weekend and the start of the summer holiday season, is not a pre-existing road safety bandwagon that the police have jumped onto. It is a police initiative. It is designed not only to prevent injuries and save lives, but also to remind people that these goals are an essential part of their enforcement function.

We need that reminder.

One of my pet peeves is our pre-occupation with traffic tickets. Putting our driving focus on avoiding tickets does little to avoid inattentive driving, which has revealed itself as one of the most prolific causes of car crashes.

The only tool we give our police enforcement agencies to make our roads safer, though, is a set of driving rules and the ability to hand out tickets when those driving rules are broken. It is helpful, and important, for the police to remind us and for the driving public to “get it” that it’s all about road safety.

The timing of Canada Road Safety Week, May 12 through 18, 2015, not only marks the start of a busy summer holiday driving season. It happens also to fall exactly six months before the National Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, on November 18, 2015.

Each and every one of us singularly have the power to pay our full attention to driving safely, and to encourage those around us to do the same.   May each of us direct the powerlessness we might feel about things we cannot control, like cancer, into things we most certainly can. Together we can reduce the number of victims we remember six months from now.

Published on May 15, 2015 in the Kelowna Capital News

Posted May 14, 2015 on Kelowna Capital News Online