We live in a world of distractions, and a new campaign launched this week in the Southern Tier aims to remind everyone – pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists – about the dangers of not paying attention.
The traffic safety boards of Chemung and Steuben counties kicked off “Be Alert, Distraction Kills” in hopes of curbing accidents.
“We had a spate of bicycle and pedestrian deaths in Elmira, but that alone was not the reason for this initiative,” Jay Schissell, vice chairman of the Chemung County Traffic Safety Board and director of the Elmira-Chemung Transportation Council, told the Star-Gazette newspaper at a news conference.
“If there’s one commonality to the crashes we’ve been having recently, it’s distraction,” he added. “Distraction on the part of all users in the transportation system.”
He’s right! We all have the potential to get distracted when we walk, ride or drive – too often by cell phones and other devices.
But it is OUR JOB (and our legal obligation) to pay attention! Failing to do so needlessly endangers other people and it just is NOT right that we should put someone else at risk of serious injury (or death) just because we don’t care enough to pay attention!
Schissell listed some all-too-common distractions – cell phones, CD players in cars, eating, putting on makeup, wearing headphones and using illegal drugs.
We forget how dangerous distractions can be until someone gets hurt!
Law enforcement will be involved in getting the message out, too.
The Elmira Police Department used a grant to buy a distracted driving simulator to be used in classrooms.
“We don’t want it to be just a video game,” Police Chief Michael Robertson told the Star-Gazette. “We want it to be an educational tool.”
Corning Police Chief Salvatore Trentanelli said they also plan an educational campaign, adding, “However, there will be some enforcement maintained by the police agencies.”
The campaign will also include portable message signs along some roads and YouTube videos, according to news reports, but in the end, it is up to all of us to STAY FOCUSED!
“It’s not for bicyclists, it’s not for pedestrians, it’s not for motorists,” said Schissell of the campaign. “It’s for everybody.”
Let’s remember that – and BE SAFE!
To see the news reports: