No one can disagree: distracted driving is a bad deal. That said, how many of us engage in it in some way daily? Heck, even having children in the car with me can sometimes put me in a distracted mindset. Add in an electronic device and we are all in an entirely different category. The temptation! The catalyst for 294,882 thoughts! But what if we all took some time before we began our drive to get settled and prepared?
In 2014 Philip Lutzenkirchen died in a drunk driving accident. An enormously talented young man who was a man of character on and off the football field, Lutz died leaving a legacy to his family and friends. His father pledged to keep his memory alive by coming up with 43 words to describe Lutz. This has subsequently turned into a character curriculum, but for our purposes here, we are focused on the Lutzie 43 Foundation, which “exists to reduce the number of distracted driving incidents, ultimately diminishing the number of deaths caused by unsafe driving. The foundation fulfills this mission by encouraging and empowering young people to be positive ambassadors for safe driving, carried out through [the] 43 Key Seconds Initiative.”
It’s wonderful and encouraging to know that the Town of Bluffton has had a partnership with the Bluffton Police Department for about two years to educate and inform the population about distracted driving. It wasn’t until this spring, though, that the Town (and police department) partnered with Lutzie 43 to provide information and education to high school students. So far Bluffton High School and May River High School students took the pledge. Last week 46 University of South Carolina Beaufort students took the pledge. Mike Lutzenkirchen visited the university last year to speak with athletes.
Bluffton is making strides by being the first town in South Carolina to partner with Lutzie 43.
When people pledge to think before driving distracted, they receive a physical key with a large 43 stamped on it. This is designed to make one stop and think and:
- Ensure you have a clear head- one that is not affected by alcohol, drugs, emotions or fatigue.
- Have clear hands- send a text, adjust the radio and put all devices away so you can drive hands-free.
- Set your sights on the road ahead. Do not look to the side at a passenger or down at a text.
- Finally, click your seatbelt. It’s the law and could save your life!
- Now, turn your key.
Perhaps many of us adults need these reminders, too.
Check out Lutzie43 online at www.lutzie43.org. Lutzie43 also offers a scholarship of $4300.
Here are the requirements to apply:
- Applicants must be high school juniors or seniors or current postsecondary undergraduates enrolled or planning to enroll in a full-time accredited program at a two-year or four-year college, university, or vocational-technical school located in the United States.
- Applicants must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale (or its equivalent) at the time of application.
- Applicants must have signed the 43 Key Seconds Safe Driving Pledge within two years of their application submission.