From 2014 to 2016, more than 90 people were involved in fatal accidents in Tangipahoa Parish. That statistic, according to a campaigner working to reduce the number of avoidable deaths, is too many, and indicates that change is needed in Louisianans’ driving habits.
Donna Miller, Tangipahoa Parish President Robby Miller’s wife, is a local businesswoman who approached former state police trooper Ron Whittaker regarding the unfortunate number of fatal vehicle crashes. She was particularly concerned with the number of tragedies involving young victims, who are grossly over-represented in car crashes that lead to death.
Whittaker lives in Hammond and he spoke to the Hammond Kiwanis Club recently about Miller’s concerns. He addressed the Stop the Knock campaign, a large campaign in neighboring Mississippi, which would hopefully stop that knock on the door when police officers have to tell a family their loved one has died in an accident.
3 Deaths in 10 Days Prompts Campaign
Miller sought out Whittaker’s assistance in her campaign after hearing of 3 Louisiana residents who died in car crashes, in just a 10-day period. All of the accidents during this short time had alarming similarities. They involved youth driving on 2-lane narrow roads, the drivers were speeding, and 2 of the 3 victims weren’t wearing seatbelts.
Stop the Knock Strives to Educate on Avoiding Fatal Accidents
“We’ve got to stop that knock,” Whittaker told the attendees of the Kiwanis meeting. Miller was supposed to join Whittaker at the presentation, but she couldn’t, ironically. She was at a funeral for former NFL player and Mayor of the Village of Tangipahoa, Michael Dywane Jackson Dyson, who was killed a few days earlier in a fatal vehicle accident.
Two residents of Hammond died earlier that week, in separate accidents; the victims were just 18 and 32 years old. Miller’s campaign hopes to put an end to these types of fatal accidents that result in lives taken way too early.
Stop the Knock involves talking to civic groups and leaders about the top causes of fatal car crashes. It attempts to educate those with the power to pass laws and influence others, teaching them how to help reduce fatalities by an auto accident.
Leading the Way to Safer Driving
Whittaker’s talk with the Kiwanis club urged leaders of the group to encourage young people to drive defensively, to avoid distractions, and to always wear a seatbelt. She also hoped to reinforce how important it is to never drive impaired. Tangipahoa Parish has several ways for drinkers to get a ride home, including Your Ride, Our Driver, LLC., a company started by off-duty police officers that provides professionally-driven rides through a booked service.
Distracted Driving: One of the Biggest Causes of Car Crashes
Texting, talking, and eating while driving are all forms of distracted driving—one of the leading causes of fatal accidents. Whittaker says that young people who have more than 3 other youths in the car quadruple the odds of getting into a car crash.
What else makes for a dangerous driving situation?
- Driving too fast on Tangipahoa’s narrow rural streets, or any road, is another top cause of fatal car accidents.
- Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs – legal or illegal – is extremely hazardous.
- Distracted driving can lead to death – for the driver and others.
There are serious consequences, personal and legal, for anyone who chooses to drive in an unsafe manner.
If you’ve been the victim of someone who has not driven responsibly and who has caused you injury from a car accident, my team of attorneys at The Law Offices of Tony Tramontana would like to talk with you. Fill out the contact form on this page and we’ll be in touch.