Debbie Hersman is the President and CEO of the National Safety Council. She was in Omaha on Thursday for a Nebraska Women in Safety event at Charlie's on the Lake.
She sat down to talk with 3 News Now Anchor Jennifer Griswold about the station's initiative called, "Safe Roads Now," and changes she would like to see on the roads. "I think the campaign that you're running--the focus--that you're paying attention to this is so important because how do we change a culture," Hersman said.
Hersman said 100 people die on roads in the United States every day. "I don't know any other epidemic that we deal with on a national level that we are so complacent, and we say it's okay to lose 40,000 people a year."
Hersman said the same issues are killing people that did decades ago. She says impaired driving is a major cause of crashes. While seat-belt use has improved and only about 10% do not wear seatbelts, she notes, "50% of the people who are killed in vehicles are unbelted, so that 10% that's not wearing belts they make up half of the people who are killed inside vehicles."
Hersman and the National Safety Council would like to see primary enforcement for people not wearing seatbelts and texting and driving. She says education, legislation, law enforcement and technology improve driver safety, but it also needs to be the responsibility of the people at the wheel. Not only does it impact everyone financially, but the effects can also be far greater. "People have to realize that their decisions have consequences and the choices they make it's not just about them, it's about all the rest of us."