The Governor’s Highway Safety Program sponsored what’s being called a “Tree of Life” in honor of victims of fatal car crashes on North Carolina roads during 2009.
Last year, a total of 1,346 deaths occurred on the streets of our state. The same number of lights now brightens the Tree of Life. The lights are white except for 394 of them. Red lights represent the individuals killed by drunk drivers in North Carolina in 2009.
Kristin Knutson provided the keynote speech at the tree lighting ceremony on December 3, 2010. She survived a wreck that took the life of her best friend, Eddie Ogburn, in August 2009. The friendship was severed by a drunk driver.
“Events like this really help you to find the strength to move on and find a purpose so you can see what you are here to do,” Kristen said in an article published on nbc17.com.
The Tree of Life will shine through the holiday season until January 3, 2011 on the grounds of the state capitol building in Raleigh.
Additionally, police departments spanning the state will increase the frequency of checkpoints and patrols as part of their “Booze It and Lose It” campaign.
As you and your loved ones spread cheer in your communities this holiday season, remember the lives lost to drinking and driving. Designate a sober driver for your holiday parties.
And I would suggest that during the shopping rush, don’t drive distracted. The urge to multitask by using cell phones, texting and driving, or fidgeting with GPS systems is difficult to control when we’re busy. But putting down the phone to pay attention to the road can save someone else’s life or your own.
Let’s make 2010 a safe and happy holiday season to be in The Old North State!