Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How to be Heard: Plant Some Grass...Follow the Roots

If you haven't heard, I'm MADD AND SADD. Except in this case I am a mother and sister against distracted driving instead of drunk driving (although I am pretty firmly against that too). A distracted truck driver who probably was fiddling with his cell phone, killed my beautiful sister Gayla almost one year ago. I feel more and more anger everyday and, for months now, I have felt compelled to DO SOMETHING to change how we as a society view being distracted by cell phones in the car.

When I printed out the PLEDGE last week and tried to get my loved ones and co-workers to sign it, I was appalled that more than one person laughed in MY face and said, "That's not gonna happen. You'll never get that to go." Well, myMama always says if you want to get something done, tell me I can't do it. DING!

I have no idea what I am doing or where to even begin. Since I am a nerd-by-nature I will start with research, and who better to glean ideas from than the mothers who got in the world's face more than 30 years ago when it was almost a joke to drink and drive a car. To learn more about what I am ranting, Read this excerpt by Laurie Davies from the Fall of 2005:

Twenty-five years ago, a heartbroken mother made a pledge in her deceased daughter’s bedroom. She would do something about the outrage of drunk driving—a decision that quickly inspired a handful of grieving, determined mothers to join in the fight. Though united in cause, they had no office, no money and no clout. In fact, all they had was sorrow, pluck and a picture of a pretty, 13-year-old girl killed by a drunk driver. Yet they initiated one of the great grassroots successes in American history. They were as their name suggests: MADD. As their fledgling organization grew, they stood toe to toe with politicians who knew the stats but did not act. They took on a powerful industry that put profit over safety. They challenged a society that viewed drinking and driving as  acceptable—even laughable. And they caused a visceral reaction. The getting there wasn’t easy. It was tough. It was messy. And it was fraught with obstacles. Yet MADD proved, time and time again, that it would not be bullied or derailed. In fact, MADD blazed a trail that other organizations have since followed. They made hard, cold statistics come to life. They did not just say that drunk driving killed thousands and injured millions. They held up photographs—and described every nuance of their loved ones’ lives—to prove it. As a result, a mountain of traffic safety and victims’ rights legislation has been passed. Annual alcohol-related traffic fatalities have dropped from an estimated 30,000 in 1980 to fewer than 17,000 today. And, perhaps most important, society no longer views drunk driving as acceptable. Looking back over 25 years, it’s an amazing story. A grieving mother’s determination sparked a volunteer movement that swept the nation and has saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

I may not have a plan, but I have passion, which in my world is fuel. So world, be forewarned, I have planted some grass seeds and am tending them. Watch out! The roots are going to strangle out our society's acceptance that distracted driving is just a fact of everyday life. 

1 comment:

  1. Good for you Jaimee. Do you not have fines in the US for talking on the phone whilst driving? We do in Australia. Not sure that it stops anyone, but at least it is not 'acceptable'. I can't believe it is almost a year. You poor ol' chook x