Last night I found a very lengthy email from a stranger who was writing to me and to an editor at treehugger.com. He was reaching out to me–asking me to take on a traffic safety issue after I finished with underride guards.
He wanted me to raise awareness of Left Foot Braking which went out of vogue when automatic transmissions were introduced into our cars. I grew up driving a stickshift and have recently observed that perhaps people pay less attention to their driving because they don’t have to be more engaged with shifting. But I had never heard of this idea that Right Foot Braking has led to thousands of deaths.
Now I am not even going to begin to go into the details of this issue. But I want to point out what I quickly realized after clicking on a link in his email. This man had found my name and learned about my safety advocacy efforts from an article just published on treehugger.com. He was appealing to me to help him get the traffic safety issued, which he is most concerned about, resolved.
This man, Trevor Frith, was acting like I am a traffic safety advocate who could help address this problem which he truly believes is unnecessarily causing traffic fatalities. He thinks that I could help to do something to change things so that these kinds of deaths are prevented in the future. He was hoping that I would act like a Traffic Safety Ombudsman!
Well that just goes to show you: A U. S. Traffic Safety Ombudsman is definitely needed!
I mean, I can do a lot, as a “retired” home school mom — sitting here at my computer in North Carolina and shouting out my frustration over the travesty of traffic “safety” here in our country. The availability of information on the internet and the social media tools have greatly enhanced the abilities of an individual to make an impact since the days when I was a nursing home patient advocate in 1977.
But to really make headway in this crusade for safer roads, we need a recognized position of Traffic Safety Ombudsman, who has the ear of those in authority who can do something about these issues. And I don’t mean that this has to be someone who would apply political pressure but who would have good connections to communicate the needs and facilitate timely resolutions and raise national awareness and support and change.
And he/she would need the resources of any person working a full-time job of national life & death importance–not the volunteer 60 year-old mom of nine (two of them in heaven) and grandma of three working out of her bedroom “office” and pouring her heart into the battle.
So, thank you, Lloyd Alter, for publishing your article about our Traffic Safety Ombudsman Petition. I hope that it gets noticed by many people in this country and helps to get the attention of the White House and President Obama.
And thank you, Trevor W. Frith, B.S.M.E., for illustrating so aptly why a National Traffic Safety Ombudsman is needed. People’s lives are depending on it. And they don’t even realize it.
SIGN & SHARE the TRAFFIC SAFETY OMBUDSMAN Petition: https://wh.gov/i6kUj
August 3 UPDATE: The petition on the White House site is expired. Please sign our new Traffic Safety Ombudsman Petition at Care2; http://www.thepetitionsite.com/384/321/600/end-preventable-crash-fatalities-appoint-a-national-traffic-safety-ombudsman/
Footnote to the Braking Issue: I just got a reply from a person whom I follow on Twitter. He posts a lot about different driving techniques and safety tips. So I asked him what he knew about Left/Right Foot Braking. This is what he said:
— Scott Marshall (@SafeDriver) July 5, 2016
So, you see, after less than 24 hours of learning about this issue, I am not going to claim to be an expert. But it confirms my conclusion that someone — like a Traffic Safety Ombudsman — is needed to sort out and address traffic safety issues–to get to the bottom of it and find out the truth of the matter in every case. To raise awareness and help us do what is best for travelers on our roads.