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present the biggest safety threats), and a successful com- munications plan. Further, AAA suggests the transporta- tion safety community needs to develop more effective ways of getting the general public to fully comprehend the weight of traffic crashes and how their individual be- havior plays a huge role in safety.

one way to do it

Stern, who has seen his fair share of the costs that traffic crashes inflict, thinks that just as the cost of gas is flash- ing its ugly face at every corner (billboards, gas stations, newspapers, television commercials, etc.), the cost of traffic crashes should be similarly displayed.

“I think you need the numbers,” said Sterns. “It’s the sticker shock of the posted gas prices that gets the at- tention.”

To some, alerting the general public to the numbers of lives lost each year does not seem as scary as the idea of losing out on a lot of money, nor does it hit home as much as passing a homemade cross designating the fateful spot of a past crash. Sterns suggests combining these two ideas into one productive method of commu-

nication, by posting the cost of an accident at the scene of the crime.

Admitting that it seems “a little grim and ghoulish, but [it] gets the message across,” Sterns thinks writing something like: The cost of this fatality to all of us, not just the family of the victim = $5,673,000…or something of that nature would hit home tenfold, because it forces passersby to connect both the cost of a crash with the devastating reality of it.

the BottoM line

It’s bad enough how many lives are lost on our nation’s roadways each year, and the added financial loss only adds salt to the wound. Perhaps though, for those lucky enough to have not experienced a traffic crash first hand, and the numbers of lives lost don’t affect their driving behaviors, maybe the numbers of dollars wasted will. And motor vehicle administrators and law enforce- ment officials are a key tool in spreading the suggested recommendations from AAA throughout their jurisdic- tions, onto the roadways and into the mindsets of driv- ers across the country. M

Fall 2008 | MOVE 33

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