March Update

February and March have been busy months for We Save Lives. Our founder and president, Candace Lightner, had the privilege of speaking at the Heritage Foundation's conference, Drugged Driving: What is the Problem? What are the Solutions? She was joined by other policy makers, government officials and advocates involved in this issue.

It was a serious and informative discussion that covered everything from the lack of awareness to solutions such as roadside testing for suspected drugged drivers and zero tolerance for drugs for those drivers under 21 . We Save Lives is working with the Heritage Foundation and conference participants and developing a priority package of recommendations for policy makers.

Candace was also invited to attend NHTSA's (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), Call to Action Summit on Drugged Driving . She was joined by We Save Lives', partner and legislative liaison, Ed Wood from DUID Victim Voices, Darryl Rogers, We Save Lives speaker and Victim advocate, whose son was killed in a drugged driving crash, Fred Delfino from Alere , a long time supporter of We Save Lives, John Flannigan , a DRE (Drug Recognition Expert) from Vermont and others to learn more about NHTSA's plan to combat this problem

Candace, Ed and Darryl also met with representatives from Congress to promote our solution driven proposals on drugged driving.
Dr. Robert Dupont, President Institute for Behavior and Health, , Terry Zobeck, Associate Director, ONDCP (Office of National Drug Control Policy), and Jeff Michaels, NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) at the Heritage Foundation.
Darryl Rogers, sharing his story with Senators Feinstein's and Grassley's staff. They were very moved by his story and we encourage more drugged driving survivors to share their stories with legislators.
Heidi King, NHTSA Deputy Administrator, and Candace Lightner, at the NHTSA drugged driving conference. She pledged to make drugged driving a priority during her administration.
Ed Wood, advocating and promoting our policies to members of Congress. We both visited more than 20 offices that day distributing our materials and educating anyone and everyone about the seriousness of drugged driving. It was a productive and exhausting week!
Did You Know that March is National Brain Injury Month?

Unless you have a child or family member with a brain injury it’s unlikely you know there even is a “month” set aside for such awareness.

I am more than aware because my son, Travis, was run over by a car when he was 4 years old. The driver was on prescription meds and distracted by her baby in the back seat. Travis was outside with his friends, sisters and neighbor children. We lived in a cul-de-sac, I thought we were safe.

That day will forever be etched in my memory. I was on the phone when I heard my daughter, Cari, scream, “Travis is dead!” I ran out the door and helped lift the car off his precious little 4-year-old body. It’s true what they say about strength in a crisis.

I rode to the hospital in the ambulance with him and cursed when other drivers wouldn’t pull over. I listened as the doctors told me he probably would not survive the surgery and if he did, he might be permanently brain injured . I just told them to fix whatever was wrong and left the room. He was in surgery for more than 6 hours that day and they told me they didn’t know what to fix first.  Read more . .
The Seven Habits of Really Good Drivers
Actually, there are probably more than 7 but let’s focus on these:

·        Always travel within the speed limit and if the road conditions are hazardous, then go slower. I watch people speed by me during torrential rainfalls and say a quick prayer that they will arrive alive. I think there is research that shows those who speed might save at the most 5 minutes on their trip. Really?  Do we need to risk our lives and that of others for 5 minutes?
·        Ignore all the latest infotainment systems car manufacturers offer that can make driving distracted an ongoing temptation and real easy to do. We lived without them for more than a hundred years and did just fine, actually probably better when it came to surviving on the roads. That goes for your mobile devices too. Turn them off when you get in the car . Everyone knows how dangerous they are.  Denial can be a dangerous thing.
If you know of someone who doesn't practice these good driving habits, send them our newsletter. Maybe they will get a hint and you will save a life!
Message from the President
It isn't often that I get the chance to take visiting "dignitaries" to view an exhibit centered on my highway safety advocacy. Recently, during the NHTSA conference, some of the We Save Lives team , Fred Delfino, Darryl Rogers, Ed Wood and John Flannigan joined me in visiting the exhibit at the Newseum. I helped develop this exhibit, even donating the "I AM MADD" license plates. The other plate is on display at the Smithsonian. Each time I visit the Newseum, I choke up when looking at my daughter, Cari's photo standing alone in front of some of our old campaign materials. Though, it is an honor to be in two museums, I would rather be looking at my daughter and not her photo.
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