MOUNTAIN TOP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Safety advocates have been trying for a long time to drive home an important message about deadly car crashes. They say many of those crashes are preventable.
Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller explains an effort aimed at zeroing in on safety and we must warn you, some of the videos featured may be disturbing.
It happens all too often. A driver intentionally runs a red light or is distracted. The results can be devastating.
“Every day, I keep my fingers crossed and I say a prayer that today will be a good day driving,” said driver Cat Rooney.
Rooney drove from her North Carolina home to visit her sister in northeastern Pennsylvania.
She’s seen speeding, aggressive, and distracted driving along the way.
“There’s nothing there that makes me feel safe. You know, it’s every man for himself it seems,” said Rooney.
Her sister, Cheryl, has seen it too, from the passenger seat.
“They don’t even have any patience. It’s like they’re always in a hurry,” said Drums resident Cheryl Beauregard.
“How does that make you feel?” said Hiller.
“Angry,” said Beauregard.
Last year alone, nearly 1,200 people were killed on Pennsylvania roads, and tens of thousands more across the U.S. Many crashes each year are preventable.
Some involve children being struck by cars while boarding or leaving their school bus. Others resulted in pedestrians struck when they have the right of way.
Bicyclists are victims, too.
Damian Kevitt had his right leg amputated in 2013 after he says a car crossed into his lane while he was bike riding.
“I was hit by a car and pinned underneath it and dragged nearly a quarter mile from the streets onto and down the 5 Freeway at freeway speeds. My right leg was ripped off and about 20 pounds of flesh in two minutes,” SAFE Executive Director Damian Kevitt.
Kevitt turned his near tragedy into advocacy. He formed the organization called Streets Are For Everyone (SAFE) aimed at making streets safer for everyone and preventing for others from what happened to him.
SAFE’s message is echoed by Verra Mobility which develops smart technology and safe transportation initiatives
“When you hear Damian’s story it’s very difficult to not have a visceral reaction and say, you know, ‘I should probably be much more aware of what I’m doing on the roadway to keep other people safe so people don’t have to go through these situations,'” said Verra Mobility Executive VP of Government Solutions Jon Baldwin.
“You can save lives. It’s not inevitable that just because you are driving on a road you might get hit and die,” said Kevitt.
There are voluntary, online pledges you can make to become a safer driver, including the Eyewitness News ‘No Text NEPA’ pledge.