Distracted driving PSAs can make even the most cynical Bellingham driver smile

Even though far too many collisions involving a distracted driver in Bellingham end tragically, PSAs don't always have to. Public Service Announcements, or PSAs, are one way to raise awareness on important things like drunk or distracted driving. The ones I've seen use emotion, oftentimes very intense emotion, to highlight the dangers of distracted driving. The use of strong emotion will hopefully change behavior, and encourage others to share what they've seen and felt with friends and loved ones.

This PSA, "Hello", from New Zealand, is on the light-hearted side. It's linked from The Wise Drive, the blog kept by Doug Dahl, manager of Whatcom County's Target Zero Task Force. This is a state-led initiative focused on ending traffic deaths and serious injuries by the year 2030. That's not so far-fetched, considering fully autonomous vehicles are on the streets now, and that most voices in the industry forecast that vehicles will be fully autonomous by 2020.

It reminds me of the importance of involving friends and family as allies in helping us resist the urge to drive distracted. As anyone with a cell phone has likely experienced, these devices are masters of making us respond to them. Cell phones are designed to be addicting.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and though it's almost over, the gravity of the issue isn't. Please take a moment to take the pledge to not drive distracted.

As a personal injury lawyer serving car accident victims in Bellingham, many of whom have been hit by drunk or distracted drivers, I see firsthand how devastating these accidents can be. There is a tendency to get numb from all the info about distracted driving's dangers, and over time the punch these messages carry does fade - that's just human nature. However, the point of all this information is to change behavior, and to truly prevent car accidents. Perhaps in this country, or even globally as it is in New Zealand, despite all the PSAs and laws, the only thing that will truly change our bad habits with technology is more technology. If that's so, we are still a decade away from safety. I don't think we should accept that.

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