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Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires…And Distracted Driving

In the 1940’s, the United States Forest Service adopted a mascot named Smokey the Bear. In his famous ad campaigns, Smokey educates kids and reminds adults that “only you can prevent forest fires.” This message of personal responsibility and potential consequences of forsaking that duty has resonated with generations of Americans.

Currently, a similar message is being spread by the government and safety advocates regarding not forest fires but distracted driving. Distracted driving is now one of the leading causes of car accidents in the United States annually. For better and worse, the only ones who can ultimately prevent distracted driving accidents are individual motorists themselves.

For one tragic reason, the age group most in need of this message is teens and young adults. Motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of this age group. As distracted driving is the number one contributor to vehicle crashes, it is imperative that this age group especially receives this message clearly.

Youth is often defined as a time of pushing boundaries and of learning from both successes and mistakes. It is biologically predetermined that teens and young adults will make mistakes. Unfortunately, pushing boundaries, rebelling or simply being careless by engaging in distracted driving is a behavioral mistake with potentially deadly consequences.

Ultimately, it comes down to individual motorists to prevent distracted driving behavior and associated accidents. Failure to take this responsibility seriously could lead to fatal accidents and imprisonment for vehicular homicide. Just as it is with forest fires, only you can prevent distracted driving.

Source: Monticello Times, “Preventing distracted driving is a concern for all,” Tom Kelly, Mar. 7, 2013