A New Year’s Resolution: Driving More Safely
Last week, I sat among many of the foremost experts in transportation safety and security at the World Bank in Washington D.C. The most startling fact? The leading cause of death among children age 10 to 19 are road crashes, killing 260,000 children a year (World Health Organization). For those of us at FedEx, that is almost the size of our entire global workforce. Although many of us may see other issues as more pressing, the facts are clear: Road and pedestrian safety must be addressed.
“Behaviorally, something happens to drivers when they get behind the wheel in their regard for pedestrians,” a statement shared by one of the transportation experts from the India Institute of Technology. Now I am the first to admit that I can become a different person when driving. Although I live in New York City, I grew up in the car-hungry city of Dallas and saw my own behavior change when I got into my car. Suddenly, people lost their humanity and my needs became paramount to everyone else’s.
Changing driver behavior is not an easy task, but for the last several years, FedEx has invested in Safe Kids Worldwide to help protect the most vulnerable pedestrians, children. We have funded education programs for both children and drivers like me to become more aware of our surroundings and commit to aggressively reduce the number of preventable injuries.
As the world develops economically, the question is how to make this growth more sustainable and secure for everyone. Building sidewalks and educating children on proper road safety are one of the many steps needed to build safe and secure communities. Solutions also lie in the way cities build infrastructure to support safe travel for all people, especially the most vulnerable populations (i.e. children and the elderly). Nations must also must address their systems of education and driver training that emphasize safety precautions and the respect for other drivers, bikers, and pedestrians.
I am not the best driver in the world, but I am increasingly paying attention to my actions behind the wheel. Fellow drivers, bikers, and pedestrians all deserve safe passage to their destinations. In the same way FedEx regards every package as valuable and important, I, too, must regard every child pedestrian as a valuable “package” and make sure he or she is delivered safely to the intended destination.