Friday, February 27, 2009

Making Right Decisions in Changing Circumstances

Dear Friends in Safety,

Prudence is a virtue. Humans have heard this since ancient times. But, what is prudence, and what does is have to do with driving behavior today?

Recently I came across a definition for prudence that can be easily adapted to our driving behavior. "Prudence is practical wisdom for making right decisions in changing circumstances."

What does this mean for us?

As drivers we are constantly bombarded with changing circumstances - weather, lane changes, congestion, stop signs, adjusting speed, behavior of other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, skateboarders, and more. In short, every venture out on the road requires prudence; that is the ability to take what we know and put it into practice through the decisions we make behind the wheel. This means:

  • Stopping at Stop Signs - Remember, STOP! TAKE 3 TO SEE™ (Come to a complete stop. Look Left, Look Right, Look Right again - and look ahead. Make sure the coast is clear of traffic, pedestrians, cyclists before you drive on).
  • Obeying Speed Limits, and adjusting our speed according to conditions - weather, presence of children playing, pedestrians, cyclists, construction, etc.
  • Practicing safe space management - the distance between our vehicle and the ones around us (front, back, and beside). Remember the 3 second rule. Fix on an object ahead. This could be a sign, bridge, or any fixed object. Notice when the vehicle in front of you passes that object, then count to see if it takes you 3 seconds or more to pass the same object. If so, you are practicing good space management (although you need to adjust to leave more time and space in bad weather). See "It's Not a Race! Create Space"
  • Buckling up every one, every trip, every time. No exceptions. Most crashes occur near home. We can be so familiar with the environment in which we travel that we don't take necessary precautions to keep ourselves and others safe. If you need convincing, just view this video - Video Evidence -Seat Belts FASTENATING!
  • Do not talk or text on a cellphone (even if you are talking on a hands-free device). Studies show that verbal tasks such as talking on a cell phone distract drivers from paying attention to all that is going on around them as they drive. The #1 priority for each of us behind the wheel is to pay attention to the task of driving above and beyond all else.

    This is just a starter list. You are invited to "be prudent" and put what you know about driving into practice each and every time you get behind the wheel.

    Happy and safe motoring!

    In safety,
    Tom Everson
    Executive Director
    KEEP KIDS ALIVE DRIVE 25® - A “For Action” Organization -501(c) (3)

There Are No Easy Deaths

Dear Friends in Safety,

I have attended three funerals in the past two weeks. The death of loved ones always reminds me that no matter what the circumstances, death is never easy.

This reality comes home to me each day when I receive “Google Alerts” with headlines that read:

Bus driver: I followed orders in dropping child off in parking lot
Phoenix child dies after being run over by truck in driveway (Check out
School crossing guard dies after SUV hits him
Teen skateboarder dies after being run over by car

You get the picture.

A special part of the mission of KEEP KIDS ALIVE DRIVE 25 is to support families whose loved ones have died as a result of traffic incidents. We directly support action to promote greater traffic safety on the local, state, and national levels in memory of these family members:

Justin Faust, Age 9, Lees Summit, Missouri
Ashley Steffan, Age 17, Waukesha, Wisconsin
Shannon Lloyd, Age 7, Omaha, Nebraska
Anna Diffenderfer, Age 2, Perkiomenville, Pennsylvania
Kyle Foster, Age 10, Mesquite, Texas
Nicolas Riconosciuto, Age 5, Ormond Beach, Florida
Tyler Tscheschlog, Age 14, Forest Hill, Maryland
Cady Ann Reynolds, Age 17, Omaha, Nebraska
Tia Townsend, Age 11, Shoreline, Washington
Jacqueline G. Becker, Age 17, Cape May County, New Jersey
Christina M. Becker, 19, Cape May County, New Jersey
Anthony Henry, Age 14, Yardville, New Jersey
Shaye Martin, Age 8, Doral, Florida
Sierra Feaster, Age 10, Lanoka Harbor, New Jersey
Natalie DeLeon, Age 21, Springfield, Massachusetts
Landon Bos, Age 7, Norfolk, Nebraska
Matt Schmill, Age 23, Omaha, Nebraska
Ashley Smith, Age 17, Scotrun, Pennsylvania
Ian Taggart, Age 19, La Veta, Colorado
Graeme Preston Age12, Freehold NJ
Kevin Clawson, Age 13, Freehold, NJ
Aaron David Sumner Brock, Age 7, Haughton, Louisiana
Nick Peters, Age 15, Wahoo, Nebraska
Kyle Clark, Age 16, Wahoo, Nebraska
Kimberly Hoover, Age 18, Barberton, Ohio
James Davis, Age 29, White Bear Lake, Minnesota
Melissa Tindell, Age 13, Panama City, Florida
Nikki Simonson, Age 5, Phoenix, Arizona

If you know of a family who could benefit from our support, please e-mail us at

More Opportunities to be Supportive:

Join Gretna, Nebraska, Norfolk, Nebraska, Broomall, Pennsylvania, and Hagerstown, Maryland in observing the 3rd annual Keep Kids Alive Drive 25® Day on May 1st. Download information at KKAD25 Day. Corporate Sponsors welcome – e-mail
Make your next run or bike ride a “Run to Remember. Find out how by visiting KKAD25 "Run to Remember".

March 29th - "RUN FASTER! DRIVE SLOWER" KKA5k in Colts Neck, NJ - Click Here. This is an amazing opportunity developed by 5 high school seniors at Colts Neck High School.

Join the KKAD25 Facebook Cause Page. We already have well over 1000 members and have received $200.00 in donations. Thanks for supporting our mission.

Keep Kids Alive Visit to Your Town – Contact us directly about an on-site visit to support planning and mobilization for Keep Kids Alive Drive 25® and our related initiatives. Collaboration between communities is encouraged. To learn more, e-mail

“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 Everson
Executive DirectorKEEP KIDS ALIVE DRIVE 25® - A “For Action” Organization -501(c) (3)

Neighborhood Traffic Safety – It’s No Accident!

Neighborhood Traffic Safety – It’s No Accident!

We hear the word “Accident” often. Anytime a crash occurs or child is hit by a car we hear it referred to as an accident.

Yet how many tragedies are accidents? If a driver is exceeding the speed limit on a neighborhood street, or any roadway for that matter, and hits a child crossing the street, running after a ball, or riding a bike, is that an accident?

Consider these facts:

Most speeders on local roadways live right in the neighborhood.
If you hit a pedestrian:
At 20 mph 5% will die
At 30 mph 45% will die
At 40 mph 85% will die
Pedestrian fatalities increase by 3 times when moving from 25 mph zones to 30 mph zones.
Local roadways, including residential streets, have a fatality rate per miles driven over 2 times higher than on highways.

Clearly, driver behavior is crucial to creating a safe environment for everyone using a roadway. Controlling speed is no accident. It is a responsibility that helps to insure safety for others and for ourselves. No one wants to be behind the wheel and hit a child, or pedestrian of any age for that matter. Safe driving behavior is no accident. It is a decision we make each time we get behind the wheel.

The national non-profit Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 is committed to working with communities to involve and educate residents about how to make neighborhood streets safer. This includes children playing, bike riders, pedestrians of all ages, drivers, and passengers. It takes the commitment of parents, law enforcement, city services, schools, businesses, and city government working together to create safe streets for the benefit of all. Creating safe neighborhood streets is no accident.

Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 began in August 1998 in Omaha, Nebraska. Since that time the campaign has grown to encompass initiatives in almost 1000 communities representing 47 states plus Washington DC, 2 Canadian Provinces, and the Bahamas. Along the way families have become involved in the effort in memory of their own children, hit and killed on neighborhood streets, often by a speeding or inattentive driver.

Cities have joined the cause by establishing Traffic Safety Committees that bring together residents, law enforcement, public works and city officials, schools, businesses, and civic groups to develop plans to implement Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 communitywide. Educational actions include expecting parents to monitor their children and establish safe places to play. The street is not a playground. It means teaching children how to cross the street correctly and safely. It means buckling up for each and every trip no matter the distance. It means observing the speed limit and slowing down when we see children ahead, or when visibility is poor. It means paying attention to potential hazards such as a parked car a child could be hiding behind. These are all quality of life concerns that we ourselves have the power to address. Neighborhood traffic safety is no accident.

Learn more about how your neighborhood, community, school, business, or civic organization can make a difference in creating safe streets for all. Visit, e-mail, or call 402-334-1391.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Do You Drive Like a 16 Year-old?

Dear Friends in Safety,

Do you drive like a 16 year-old?

If you are 16, this question should not bother you. You are young. You are a new driver. You are learning. The information that follows can be part of your learning experience behind the wheel. For those of us who have been driving for any amount of time at all, this question invites us to pay attention to the research and examine our own driving behaviors.

In his book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), Tom Vanderbilt cites research related to cell phone use by drivers. For example, “Visual-spatial tasks…cause our eyes to fixate longer in one place than when we when we are asked to perform verbal tasks. The longer the fixation, the more attention we are devoting to the task – and the less we are giving to other things, like driving.” (Page 87)

What does this mean for us? It means is that when a driver is talking on a cell phone (a verbal task), it takes away from concentration on the road, and surroundings. In fact, one study noted that drivers talking on cell phones “tend to rigidly lock their eyes ahead.” (Page 88) This mimics the tendency of new drivers (16-17 year-olds) to lock their vision on what is in front of them, such as staying in their lane – an important task – but one which needs to be coupled with the use of peripheral vision. In short, our vision needs to pay attention to everything going on around us. Our brains are not wired to do this when we are talking on the phone (whether hands-free or not). Contrary to popular belief, multi-tasking is a myth. Rather, we need to be mono-tasking - paying attention to that one most important thing - driving.

Vanderbilt makes the point, “Having your eyes on the road doesn’t do any good unless your attention is on the road too.” (Page 89) Given this, we can ask and wonder just how many loved ones die as a result of drivers paying attention to tasks that distract them from the real task at hand – driving.

When it comes to honing our driving skills, Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 and other organizations offer many options to plan educational opportunities to help drivers pay attention to the road ahead and the world around them. Included are the following:

May 1st – KEEP KIDS ALIVE DRIVE 25® Day – visit KKAD25 Day
May 15th - National Walk-Bike to Work Day – visit Walk/Bike to Work
May 1st – 31st – National Youth Traffic Safety Month – visit KKAD25 High School Project and NYTSM.

Each of these observances encourages us to take account of our driving behavior and how it works to help or harm the environment for pedestrians, cyclists, our passengers, and our selves as drivers. The need to “pay attention” behind the wheel is a life or death concern. KEEP KIDS ALIVE DRIVE 25® exists to support you and your community in responding to these concerns by creating a safe driving, walking, riding environment for every person of every age. If you have not started in your community, then visit to find out what you can do as spring approaches.

“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 Everson
KEEP KIDS ALIVE DRIVE 25® - A “For Action” Organization -501(c) (3)