If you’re like me, even if you rely on a calendar app there’s still at least one traditional wall version or datebook in your world. When January rolls around, last year’s model is retired, and we see the blank pages of opportunity laid out before us.

Opportunity. That’s what I’m thinking about as I anticipate this 2024 traffic safety year. Together we have so much opportunity to make a difference by tackling the root causes of the persistent epidemic of traffic crashes, injuries and deaths. Although Minnesota crash deaths were down in 2022 from the previous year – and seem headed for another decline when 2023 statistics are finalized – over the last decade crashes have claimed an average of about 400 lives each year. When you factor in 2023’s preliminary numbers, that means over the past five years 2,000 people have died on Minnesota roadways. To put that into perspective, more than two-thirds of Minnesota’s 912 incorporated cities and towns have populations of 2,000 or less.

The 2024 calendar tells us we have a new year ahead of us – that’s 12 months, 52 weeks and 365 days we can strive to change traffic safety behaviors and move toward the goal of zero deaths.

I encourage you to make the most of these blank pages. First, commit to regular traffic safety education for your employee team, with a strong emphasis on changing risky behaviors. We know that significant numbers of crash deaths and injuries are attributable to a trio of causes: impairment, especially by alcohol or drugs; distractions like cell phone use, and failure to use seat belts. You’ll find many tools at DriveSafeMN. Second, be a proactive traffic safety voice. Offer to speak to community groups and share information on social media. Finally, take advantage of the campaigns we’ll be rolling out during 2024. Each will give you turnkey materials to effectively share messages through your communication channels.

Together we can make a difference. One day at a time. One person at a time. One life saved at a time.

Yours in traffic safety,