Saturday, December 29, 2018

Wrecking the Roads

It was 1990 something. 90? 91? 92? I can't remember, so we'll call it 91 since it's in the middle.
One warm and sunny February day--dude, it's TX. What did you expect?--my life changed.
My mom came and picked me up from day care early. When the teacher called my name I jumped up excited. I hated day care. I loved my mom, and I rarely went home early.
But mom stood in the hallway crying. I don't mean just a few tears running down her face either, although even that would have been disturbing. Mom was standing in the hallway all out sobbing. She wouldn't tell me what was wrong. She kept saying she would tell me and Josh together.
But the day care center couldn't find my brother, so mom's crying and refusing to tell me what was wrong went on for a while. But probably not as long as it seemed in my head.
After the little kid class had been located, Josh popped up saw Mom crying and asked "What's wrong?"
She said she'd tell us later.
She put us in the car and drove to McDonald's. We had no clue what was going on but weren't turning down happy meals. She bought two extras.
And then she told us. Her 24 year old little brother was in ICU in a coma and would likely die. The Tracks van he drove had flipped a few times and he'd been found in the curb behind my house. My uncle was driving poor and old people to doctor's appointments when he died.
Saying my life changed this day might seem overdramatic. It was my uncle, not my dad. But I'm not wrong, although that story is a different post.
Because this post is to say 2 years later, a friend of my parent's died in a car wreck. The whole car load died.
And 5 or 6 years after that, two my cousins--both high school aged--died in an automobile accident that left the other driver paralyzed.
The years proceeded, and I watched friends lost parents and siblings in car wrecks.
Time went on.
2018 struck with a vengeance. My mom's SUV was T-boned. My grandmother and nephew were in the car with her. My grandma broke 5 ribs and fractured her back in two places. My 7 year old nephew came out of it with a broken arm and a broken hip. Mom didn't come out of it. At all.
I didn't get in a car for a week. I'd known too many people who had died in car wrecks.
Three days before Christmas another family member died in a car wreck.
"You're being ridiculous..."
"It just seems like it right now..."
"Jeni, you're overreacting..."
But I'm not wrong. More than 40,000 people died in car wrecks in 2017. Accidental injury--thanks largely to car wrecks--is back up to the 3rd cause of death in the US.
I want to do something to fix this. Change it. It's too late for my family. But it's not too late for someone else's.
So, I'm crowd sourcing ideas. What's the best way to prevent these tragedies? Lower speed limits? More stringent traffic laws? Demanding our municipalities enforce current laws? Where is the best place to focus time and resources to save lives? 

1 comment:

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