By Chris Bortz
Annually, about 60,000 crashes occur in Kansas. This equates to more than 150 crashes each day in the state. Four of the top five contributing circumstances listed on the crash report are driver-related behaviors. The contributing circumstances surrounding a crash are typically: speeding, too fast for conditions, failure to yield at a stop sign or stop light, following too closely, texting and/or other distraction. All these factors are 100 percent preventable. The decisions that every driver makes not only impact themselves and their passengers, but everyone else on the road.
Using the word ‘crash’ instead of accident more accurately identifies the event - it doesn’t give the perception that no one was at fault. The word ‘accident’ implies no one was at fault or that the event couldn’t have been prevented. That is a pretty hard pill to swallow if you were the victim in a crash and the other driver was going too fast for conditions and/or was distracted.
You may have noticed that I didn’t include the circumstance of ‘impaired or drunk’ in the paragraph above. Choosing to drive impaired is a horrible, conscious decision and the ramifications of this decision lead to around 100 deaths, 1,300 injuries and 2,300 crashes in this state every year. In Kansas, You Drink, You Drive, You Lose.
I don’t believe that people get behind the wheel and say, “I think I will injure or kill someone in a car crash today.” Just because it was not intentional, doesn’t mean it couldn’t have been prevented. Most drivers rate themselves as great drivers and will say the problem is the other driver(s). However, driving is a privilege, not a right. You are sharing the road with all drivers and it is important for you to drive as if your life depends on it. Oh wait, it just might.
On the Drive to Zero fatalities, you are in the driver’s seat.
Chris Bortz is the Traffic Safety Manager at KDOT