In modern warfare we often hear reference to the phrase, "acceptable losses." In military terms, this implies that there is an "acceptable" number of casualties to be expected in order to achieve a goal, such as winning a battle or winning the war itself.
While the idea of "acceptable losses" is certainly open to debate (is it acceptable to die in order that others might experience freedom and justice?), when it comes to deaths and injuries that result from the use of motor vehicles, is even one death acceptable?
If we were to answer "yes" to this question, how would any of us approach surviving family members of victims of traffic incidents to explain why we believe that there are acceptable losses that go along with the privilege to navigate roadways throughout America, and throughout the world for that matter?
Further questions emerge, that include, can we justify deaths caused by speeding, all manner of cell phone use and other distracted driving behaviors, running stop signs and lights, tailgating, drinking and driving, ignoring school crosswalks when children are present, and not buckling up? After all, these are behaviors that are within our control. We are the ones who make the decisions behind the wheel. As such, we too, are the only ones who can make the decisions to change behaviors that lead to, on average, 93 loved ones dying on American roadways each and every day of the year. That is almost 34,000 deaths in one year. Are these deaths acceptable?
It is in memory of these 34,000 loved ones that each year several of my family members and I participate in the Pike's Peak Ascent Trail Race in Colorado as a "Run to Remember." None of the families of the loved ones we run to remember would say that the death of their daughter, son, mother, father, brother sister, grandchild or cousin was an "acceptable loss." And yet,the death of their loved one is a loss they grieve each day.
In part, the mission of Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 is to do all we can to engage every motorist in being a part of creating a driving environment to push the needle to zero deaths - the only acceptable number. Just ask the families of all those whose loved ones have died and for whom we run to remember on August 21st on Pike's Peak.
Learn about how you can make an acceptable difference to combat all deaths on roadways at www.KeepKidsAliveDrive25.org. Why? Because there are no acceptable losses - not when the loved ones are yours.
Founder - Keep Kids Alive Drive 25