Numbers are funny: 1 (crash story) is a tragedy; 1 million (crash stories) is a statistic

What a Vision Zero policy means to me: Towards Zero. While at a Sorrow to Strength Conference sponsored by the Truck Safety Coalition this weekend in Washington, DC, I experienced support and understanding by being with other truck crash victim families. But at the same time, I felt the frustration of the same scenario playing out year after year on the roads of our nation while there continues to be a tug of war over truck safety measures.

Even though many have shared their tragic stories on The  Hill and at DOT countless times over the years, still the battle continues unabated. One participant quoted Joseph Stalin in order to describe the attitude that seems to prevail, “A Single Death is a Tragedy; a Million Deaths is a Statistic.”

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t naively believe that something could be done to result in never ever any crash deaths. What I believe is that a Vision Zero policy–with a vision statement of Zero Crash Deaths & Zero Serious Crash Injuries–would impact decision-making to the extent that, when options were identified, choices would be made and strategies would be followed which would lead ever closer to that vision of zero.

The opposite attitude always ends up compromising human life and health. It gives power to the lure of the almighty dollar and the promise of efficiency and an improved economy. It means that too many people like my daughters, AnnaLeah (17) and Mary (13), are unnecessarily cheated of the opportunity to naturally live out their lives because their lives were deemed too costly to spare.

Yesterday, I was at Panera Bread in Arlington, Virginia, having some breakfast before going to The Hill with other Truck Safety Coalition volunteers to talk with my U.S. Representative and Senator about safety concerns. I saw a poster about Panera’s clean food vision statement/strategy and quickly memorized it:

“No Compromises.

“By the end of 2016, we ‘re removing all artificial preservatives, colors, sweeteners, and flavors from our food.  Learn about our clean food journey and our No No List.”

Are we, as a nation, really more concerned about healthy foods than about the safety of our roads? What will happen with our Truck Safety Legislative No No List?

No no list 003

I shared those thoughts with my Democrat congressman’s office staff and it was well-received along with this 33-second video:

There was not quite as much openness to the Vision Zero idea from my Republican senator’s staff. Hmmm . . . wonder what’s up with that?

I thought that we generally had a productive visit to my nation’s capital but came home yesterday with too many frustrations. And aftergoing out for breakfast with my husband this morning to update him on what he had missed (because he had left DC before I did), I drove home and weeped and yelled as I passed by the entrance to I-95 where we had started our fateful journey on the morning of May 4, 2013–wishing desperately that that day had never unfolded and taken my girls from me.

I also wished that somebody had let me cast a vote for Vision Zero when it might have meant the difference between life and death for Mary and AnnaLeah.

Please sign & share our Vision Zero Petition:


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