Record number of crash fatalities

Last Thursday (December 11), Wisconsin recorded 800 highway crash fatalities for 2003. By this morning, the total number of highway fatalities (809) exceeded 2002’s total highway fatalities (805). Just imagine: 809 people that celebrated the holidays with their families last year won’t be home to celebrate this year. Last year at this time, 772 people died from fatal crashes; if last year is any indication of the rest of this year, more than 840 people won’t be ringing in 2004. Also, Wisconsin has seen a continued increase in highway fatalities over the last three years (764 in 2001, 805 in 2002, and 803 to-date in 2003). We also saw an unusual spike in 2000 (801), which was up from 1999 (744). Drivers need to start driving more safely and take notice of all of the warnings out there (buckle-up, don’t drink and drive, and don’t speed excessively). Otherwise, I’m sure another 800+ people won’t be home for the holidays next year.

So let me put this in perspective… I graduated with about 450 in my high school class. So, almost twice (1.8 x) that many people have died on Wisconsin’s highways this year. Among those, 102 were on motorcycles; 51 were pedestrians, 11 were on bicycles; 9 are unknown. This leaves the bulk of it to drivers (460 drivers, 176 passengers, or 636 inside motor vehicles).

As Secretary Frank Busalacchi states, “We are losing more than 800 people a year. If we had that many people die in airplane crashes, there wouldn’t be a plane flying. People just wouldn’t stand for it. Well, they shouldn’t stand for the 800 uncles, aunts, mothers, dads, brothers and friends who are killed in traffic crashes each year.”

My message is simple: Drive carefully out there, stay sober or give your keys to someone who is, and buckle up. And have a safe holiday so you can continue to celebrate them.

I’ve also found an interesting article on how computers are detrimental to the academic achievements of students in grade school. This just shows that technology does not always belong in the classroom. I’m sure you’ve read my soapbox article, Higher Education Access. Here’s a news article from the San Francisco Chronicle that confirms my fears: Computer illogic. My nieces are smart, creative, and self-motivated. Surprisingly enough (to all of you tech lovers), they have never used a computer. That tells me something about computers and the classroom.

And for you Green Bay Packers fans, here’s some really cool news that truly makes them America’s team. Rather than Brett Favre, Donald Driver, Robert Ferguson, or Ahman Green taking the game ball home, the team gave the ball to a US marine/Packers fan who was injured in Iraq. That’s truly American!

The next soapbox is coming soon. Stay tuned…