ODESSA, Texas — This week is National Passenger Safety Week, which encourages passengers to speak up when in a vehicle that’s being driven unsafely.
The campaign was launched last January by We Save Lives and The National Road Safety Foundation, two non-profits whose focus is on highway safety.
Candace Lightner, the founder of We Save Lives, has heard all kinds of reasons for passengers not speaking up.
“And the responses that I got were interesting. ‘Well I didn’t know what to say, I really needed the ride, I didn’t want to lose the friendship’. The first thing I have to say while thinking of that; no true friend would put you in a dangerous driving situation.” said Lightner.
Passengers accounted for 62 percent of traffic fatalities nationwide in 2021, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
One of the most common ways that people get distracted while driving nowadays is by using their cellphone.
Speaking up during a situation like this as a passenger wouldn’t be hard at all.
“The phone rings and the driver starts to pick up the phone, you can very gently put your hand on the driver’s hand and say, ‘You know Mary, I really love you and I really love me and I want us to stay safe. So why don’t you let me take that call for you or why don’t we just wait until we get to our destination’.” Lightner continued.
The hope is that the longer this campaign goes on the more likely that in the future it becomes more acceptable and even expected for passengers to speak up.