Saturday, December 13, 2008

Who Is Your Good News?

Dear Friends in Safety,

About 25 years ago Anne Murray had a hit with the song, “A Little Good News.” She dreamed of the day when the headlines read,

"Not much to print today, can't find nothin' bad to say",
becauseNobody robbed a liquor store on the lower part of town
Nobody OD'ed, nobody burned a single buildin' down
Nobody fired a shot in anger, nobody had to die in vain
We sure could use a little good news today…”

As the holidays approach, many of us might like to hear a little good news. With the New Year is about to arrive, Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 invites you to consider, "Who is your good news?"

Oftentimes when life gets tough, including when we are immersed in feelings about the loss of a loved one or how our job situation might change, it is the best time to focus on who is our good news. Is it family - your spouse, your child(ren), your parents, grandparents, your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers; perhaps a friendly clerk at the grocery store or post office?

As I consider the mission of Keep Kids Alive Drive 25, I am reminded that all the good news we have experienced in 10+ years is all wrapped up in people - yes, you! You are the person who cares for your family, your neighbors, for people you have not even met through your commitment to buckling up, to observing the speed limit (or going slower due as conditions dictate), stopping at stop signs, not tailgating, or not talking or texting on a cell phone while driving. Each of these actions expresses care for others as well as care for ourselves. When we practice these behaviors, we are much less likely to be behind the wheel and hurt or be responsible for the death of a fellow human being.

It is your care and concern behind the wheel, and for your passengers, along with pedestrians and cyclists, that has helped the death rate on our nation’s roadways to go down by 10% so far in 2008. Please see Fewer Loved Ones Dying in Traffic Crashes. This means that more than 3000 families have members they can share with in this holiday season.

However, it also means we must realize even greater good in growing our mission as over 30,000 families across America take time to remember the good and the love that their son, daughter, brother, sister, mom, dad, husband, wife, grandparent, or friend brought into their life before dying as a result of a motor vehicle crash this year. My hope for each of us as we enter 2009 is that we find much to be thankful for as we consider each and every person who is good news in our lives. And as we consider these “good news” people, we can make a pledge to engage in behaviors that will continue to bring more good news into our neighborhoods and communities. You can do so at "You Choose."

Have a safe and peaceful holiday, and may you give thanks for many people who are good news in your life.

In safety,
Tom Everson
Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 - A Non-Profit "For Action" Organization

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Tipping Point, Broken Windows, Neighborhood Traffic Safety - It's No Accident!

The mission of KEEP KIDS ALIVE DRIVE 25® is 
to make streets safer for all who walk, cycle, play, drive, and ride. 

The Tipping Point, Broken Windows: 
Neighborhood Traffic Safety – It’s No Accident!

“The Tipping Point,” as defined by Malcolm Gladwell in his bestselling book of the same name, “is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.”

“Broken Windows,” is a theory developed by criminologists James Q. Wilson and George Kelling. Simply stated, “If a window is broken and left unrepaired, people walking by will conclude that no one cares and no one is in charge. Soon more windows will be broken. A sense of insecurity follows that spreads from the building to the street which it faces, sending a signal that anything goes. In a city, relatively minor problems like graffiti, public disorder… are the equivalent of broken windows, invitations to more serious crime.” (From The Tipping Point, page 141)
Neighborhood traffic safety can be looked at through this same lens of the “broken window” theory. Speeding and stop-sign running might be viewed as minor offenses. Yet, if drivers speed, run stops signs, and show general disregard for the safety of anyone on or near the street, it creates a sense of unease among neighbors. Left unchecked, parents may not allow children to play in the driveway or yard in fear for their safety. Pedestrians and bicycle riders may be less inclined to venture out as well. The unchecked motorist, in effect, is a “broken window” in the neighborhood creating a sense that this is not a safe place. Their behavior affects the quality of life and the behavior of residents in the neighborhood.

In order to address “broken windows,” such as speeding and stop sign running, citizens need to collaborate with law enforcement, public works, schools, businesses, civic organizations, and all interested parties in order to curtail these behaviors before a genuine tragedy occurs, the death of a loved one. “Broken windows” behavior behind the wheel can shatter the lives of families and the peace and well-being of our neighbors, classmates, and co-workers.

When we address what may appear to be minor violations of both law and common courtesy, we work to create a safer environment to benefit everyone in the neighborhood, including ourselves. No one wants to be behind the wheel and hit a child, or anyone for that matter. In traffic safety circles these complementary pieces are known as the 3 Es of Education, Enforcement, and Engineering. Sometimes a 4th E, Emergency Response, is added.

In building upon such collaboration, Keep Kids Alive Drive 25® seeks to create a “tipping point” in addressing speeding, stop sign running, and other traffic safety hazards in order to unite citizens and communities nationwide in making our roadways safer for us all. This takes the effort of each of us doing what we can, starting with our own driving behavior. As we commit to driving carefully, additional steps we can take include:

1. Talk with your neighbors about your concerns. Find out if they share these concerns. Invite them to get involved in making your neighborhood streets safer. Ask local law enforcement or public works to conduct a speed study in your neighborhood so that you have real data to present to neighbors. Additional information is available at or by e-mailing

2. Invite local, regional, and national media to highlight your efforts. Send them to for more information.
Invite local schools to make a difference for the benefit of their students and for the community at large. Direct them to these web pages for more information:
"A License to Live"

3. Invite local law enforcement, public works, and govt. leaders to establish a Traffic Safety Task Force to involve neighborhood, school, and business leaders in creating a workable and sustainable plan to address safety concerns. For an outline of steps to take, e-mail or call 402-334-1391.

4. Invite businesses to include Keep Kids Alive Drive 25®, BE AWARE! DRIVE WITH CARE™, Check Your Speed®/No Need To Speed®, Stop! Take 3 To See®, Stop Means Stop®, and Seat Belts-FASTENATING!® educational messages in their advertising and outreach into the community.

In short, you are invited to help create a KEEP KIDS ALIVE DRIVE 25® “TIPPING POINT” that will make streets safer for drivers, pedestrians, children at play, and bicycle riders throughout the U.S. Let’s make a difference and fix the “broken windows” of speeding, stop sign running, and all other behaviors that affect our safety on neighborhood streets (and beyond). Let’s create a “wildfire” of care and concern that makes a difference today, tomorrow, and everyday.

Neighborhood Traffic Safety: It’s No Accident! We look forward to supporting your commitment to the safety of all on the streets in your community. Call or e-mail at any time.

Safe travels,
Tom Everson
Tom Everson
Executive Director
Keep Kids Alive Drive 25®A Non-Profit "For Action" Organization 501(c)(3)
12418 C Street
Omaha, NE 68144                                                            

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Safe Routes to and from School are No Accident

Safe Routes to and from School are No Accident

Dear friends in safety,

We hear of tragic deaths each and every day. Here are two links to stories that recently came my way.

Girl Struck by SUV Outside Elementary School Dies

Girl, 9, dies after SUV hits bike

Both these girls died while walking or riding home from a school. Many communities throughout the U.S. are committed to creating safe routes to schools for children who are walking and riding. In fact, we want to encourage kids to walk and ride as a way to promote healthier lifestyles. Many of us grew up in communities where walking and riding were simply a way of life. Today, this just isn’t so.

One of the chief reasons parents give for not allowing or encouraging their children to walk or ride is the fast pace of traffic, along with inattentive drivers who run stops signs, do not observe crosswalks, or are busy talking or texting on a phone. In order to create safe walking or biking environments we must necessarily address traffic safety concerns – speeding, stopping at stop signs, space management, etc.

More and more communities are integrating Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 and our related initiatives into their education/public awareness efforts to influence driver behavior. We welcome the opportunity to partner with your safe routes initiatives so that everyone becomes involved in creating safer environments for all of our children to walk or bike. Why get involved? It’s simple; the lives of our children depend on it. Can they depend on us?

Visit KKAD25-Getting Started to find out how your community can implement Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 and our related initiatives. Call 402-334-1391 or e-mail for on-site consultation and support. For information about Safe Routes to School in your State, please visit State SRTS Contacts.

In safety,
Tom Everson
Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 - A "For Impact" Organization 501(c)(3)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Be Watchful! Be Alert! Keep Kids Alive!

Dear Friends in Safety,

As winter approaches, it seems only appropriate to remind ourselves to, “Be watchful! Be alert!”

I was reminded of this recently when reading an article authored by a man who was very familiar with his surroundings. He was sitting in an easy chair in his room when the phone rang. He got up to answer the phone, as he had thousands of times before, but was not paying attention to his surroundings, tripped, fell, broke his hip, and ended up in the hospital for 6 weeks and in a wheelchair after that.

What does this have to do with traffic safety?

The familiar can often be our downfall as drivers. We’ve driven down our neighborhood street thousands of times without incident, when one moment on our 10,00th trip down the street, a child dashes out in front of us. Or, we’ve rolled through a stop sign thousands of times, when, in an instant, on one particular day, a runner appears crossing the street, or a child on a bike comes into view a moment too late.

It is for moments like these, which truly can pop up at any time on any day of any year of our lives, that we must be watchful and be alert each and every instant we are behind the wheel.

What does being watchful and being alert look like?

It looks like:

1. Checking around the car before starting out on a trip. Make sure no children, or anyone of any age, is lurking around the vehicle.

2. Buckling up every one (including ourselves), every trip (no matter the distance), every time.

3. Observing the speed limit, or going slower. This is especially important in winter when stopping distance may well be increased or otherwise effected by the weather.

4. Practicing safe space management; making sure that we are not following too close is a start. Remember the 3 second rule. Watch the vehicle in front of us pass a fixed object – a sign or a bridge – and then count the seconds it take us to arrive at that same object. If 3 seconds or more elapse in good weather, than our spacing is good. If weather is bad, double this to 6 seconds. Practicing safety can help to avoid a great deal of sorrow. Check out for a great tutorial on space managment at Ford Motor Company Fund’s Driving Skills for Life site (Select Unit 4).

5. Stop at every Stop sign every time. Even if no one is present, this is great practice for the time when someone is. We’ve all heard the question, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” The answer, of course, is, “Practice, practice, practice!” Practicing safe driving skills and behaviors will get us to and from home safely as well. So, let’s all keep practicing.

Also, an invitation to support KEEP KIDS ALIVE DRIVE 25® financially in the year to come. Our goal is 1000 donors at $10.00 per month in observance of our 10th anniversary this year. Log on at The Network for Good to make a difference.

Thanks for your support!

All the best to you and your family in preparing for the holidays.

In safety,
Tom Everson
Keep Kids Alive Drive 25

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What constitutes a "School Zone?"

Today is the funeral for Melissa Tindell, a 13 year-old who died trying to save a kitten at a bus stop in Panama City, Florida. See:

One thought that crosses my mind as I consider the Melissa's death is that we most often think of school zones as encompassing areas immediately around a school itself. Bus stops for pick-up and drop-off of children challenge us to extend our definition of what constitutes a school zone. Shouldn't we also consider that any school bus stop also be included as a "School Zone," giving it a specific designation when it comes to speed and all around driver attention, at the very least during pick-up and drop-off hours? Your comments are welcome.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Driving as a secondary activity

I had a conversation today with a women who noted that driving seems to have become a "secondary" activity. That is, drivers are more concerned with technology - cell phones, texting, music on i-pods, etc, or eating, grooming, etc. as primary activities while driving. Is it any wonder that these distractions lead to the act of driving becoming of secondary concern?

Your thoughts?
Keep Kids Alive Drive 25

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Keep Kids Alive Drive 25-Make Our Mission Your Mission

Dear Friends in Safety,

I came across the following quote from Margaret Mead that I believe accurately sums up why so many are committed to the mission of KEEP KIDS ALIVE DRIVE 25®.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Dear Friends in Safety,

I came across the following quote from Margaret Mead that I believe accurately sums up why so many are committed to the mission of KEEP KIDS ALIVE DRIVE 25®.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

As 2009 approaches, you are invited to invite thoughtful and committed citizens in your community to help change the world on every neighborhood street one person, one action at a time. Visit to learn how. We look forward to supporting your efforts.

“Don’t Let the 2 Minutes You ‘Save’ Be
the Last 2 Minutes of Someone’s Life.”
Adapted from David Townsend (Tia’s father)
In safety,
Tom EversonT
Executive Director
KEEP KIDS ALIVE DRIVE 25® - A Non-Profit Organization -501(c)(3)