By mtjulietintern

Kenny Martin
City Manager
Mt. Juliet

I wanted to once again take a moment to remind all motorists and citizens of the importance of good driving techniques and seat belt use. As we all know, our roads grow more and more crowded every day.  As a result, the need for safer driving habits and techniques grows more and more apparent.

We now have more walkers, bicyclers and motorcycles to deal with on our roadways, and as a result, the need to be more aware has never been more important.

This time of year also seems to bring out more vehicles that are not permitted on state roadways, highways and city and county streets. You’ll see everything from go-karts and dirt bikes, to battery and motorized scooters. Although fun to ride, these devices are only permitted for off-road uses.

Because of the dangers of driving and the seriousness involved, we simply can’t afford the loss of any life. Life is much too precious to take chances while driving. Most drivers use safety belts, but as you can tell, the majority of drivers not wearing safety belts are either seriously injured or killed when involved in a wreck. Unfortunately, we focus on the number of lives lost and not the lives changed. Some lives are forever changed because of the loss of a loved one. Some lives are changed because of the life-altering injuries sustained from car crashes.

These are the lives you don’t hear about. When you aren’t directly affected by the loss of a loved one, the affects are short lived. Sort of like flipping through the channels on your television and hearing about a tragedy, you think about it for a short period of time and then move on with your life. But to those who are directly affected, the loss is forever and must be dealt with daily and forever.

As adults and parents, we must do all we can to prepare our families and ourselves to be safe while traveling the roadways. Driving an automobile is one of the most dangerous things we do on a daily basis. It’s often taken for granted because we do it daily. We’ve all been in near-miss situations while driving. Most of us have been in life-or-death situations and didn’t even know it. For example, we’ve had drunk or drugged drivers behind, beside or in front us.

As we all know, driving an automobile is a serious business. We can’t afford to take any chances while driving. Just because we’ve done it for years or simply got away with near-miss situations, doesn’t mean the same will hold true the next time. Our lives are fragile and must be handled with kid gloves. Please don’t take chances while driving; your life means too much. And please remember that all that separates you from serious injury and even death is painted lines on the roadway.

Please also make sure your children’s car seats are properly installed. A small child just recently lost his life when his car seat came dislodged as a result of improper installation. Driving is dangerous, and there are so many things outside of your control.

And speaking of control, we are also seeing an epidemic in car crashes caused as a result of distracted driving for which many of those crashes are caused by drivers who are texting, emailing and even surfing the internet while driving. I know that sounds hard to believe, but in this day of technology and cars that parallel park themselves, we may unfortunately see even more human error crashes caused by human error decisions that could have been easily corrected. Simply put, we need to pay more attention to our driving and let the other far less important stuff wait until we are not operating a motor vehicle. During or after a motor vehicle crash is not the time to realize we shouldn’t be doing such dangerous things when driving.

Unfortunately there is no way to take back such an action once you are in the middle of it or after it had happened, so please be safe and always stay focused when operating a motor vehicle of any kind.

And if you noticed, I didn’t say accident. That’s because crashes caused by human error are not defined as accidents, but are classified as crashes. I just want to keep you safe, so please know I’m not fussing. It sort of sounds like the same stuff your parents and loved ones tell you all the time. Doesn’t it. That’s because they care about you, and so do we.

Kenny Martin is city manager in Mt. Juliet.