Drop The “A” Word: Crashes Caused by Distracted, Drunk and Drugged Driving Are NOT Accidents

Last updated: 12-20-2019

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Drop The “A” Word: Crashes Caused by Distracted, Drunk and Drugged Driving Are NOT Accidents

Each year there are 6 million crashes on US roads, killing more than 37,000 people. Most are not “accidents” – but rather the result of negligent or criminal behaviors. We Save Lives is raising awareness through a national campaign supported by highway safety advocates, victims’ groups, media, law enforcement and others called Drop the “A” Word.

“Calling a crash caused by drunk, drugged or distracted driving an accident implies no one is at fault,” says Candace Lightner, founder of We Save Lives and Mothers Against Drunk Driving. “Each time the media uses that word when describing a crash – especially when there are injuries or deaths – it plays into the hands of defense attorneys who use it to excuse the dangerous driving choice their clients made that are responsible for the crash or crime.”

We Save Lives’ new video highlights the devastation caused by distracted, drunk or drugged driving. With the ubiquitous use of cell phones, along with drunk and drugged driving, this campaign puts responsibility where it belongs, to change how we speak about these events and stop excusing dangerous driving choices. We Save Lives wants the public to know that:

“The person who killed Kasey was on his 4th or 5th DUI when he plowed into us. The death of my three-year-old daughter was definitely no accident,” said mother Kelly Del Lay about the crash that killed her child. Hers is just one tragic story featured in the video.

“As a police officer, the most difficult thing for me to do was tell someone that their loved one had been killed in a collision,” notes Tim Burrows, National Law Enforcement Liaison Program Manager and retired police officer. “In my opinion, using the word accident trivializes the devastation loved ones feel and insults the memory of the deceased.”

This campaign includes a petition to the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to stand in solidarity with victims, survivors and their supporters.

“We call on everyone to Drop the “A” Word to stop excusing dangerous and irresponsible driving choices,” says Lightner. “Learn more, sign the petition and join our efforts to share this video at https://wesavelives.org/campaigns/drop-the-a-word."

Who: Candace Lightner, We Save Lives founder, activist, author & spokesperson, and founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD); and Tim Burrows, National Law Enforcement Liaison Program Manager, Retired Police Officer

When: Throughout holiday season and new year

For more information and to schedule an interview, please contact Karen Bate at kbate@kbconcepts.com or 703-402-2672.

Candace Lightner is a groundbreaking activist, mentor, author and spokesperson, widely recognized as one of the most influential American citizens of the twentieth century. Fueled by grief and anger, Candace founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving in May 1980 after her 13-year-old daughter was killed by a multiple repeat offending drunk driver. It was the largest anti-drunk driving movement in the world. Lightner has been credited with focusing unprecedented attention on the issue of impaired driving, shaping public perception, advancing tough legislation and leading to a dramatic reduction in drunk driving deaths and injuries. She continues her advocacy work today as the founder of We Save Lives, taking on drunk, drugged, and distracted driving through legislative advocacy, social media, consumer education and coalition building.

Tim Burrows is a retired police officer and manages the National Law Enforcement Liaison Program for the Governors Highway Safety Association. In this role, he supports the nation’s 233 Law Enforcement Liaisons promoting traffic safety activities at the state and local level. Tim spent the majority of his policing career working in traffic investigative, enforcement and communications roles.


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