What if it was your child?

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What if it was your child? I hope this will only ever be a rhetorical question for speeders in our community. What is lost on some drivers is that speeding endangers the lives of their own family and their neighbours.

Speeding is a serious issue on Ottawa roads. According to the Ottawa Police, in 2009, speeding or driving too fast for road and weather conditions resulted in 3,454 reportable collisions. These collisions resulted in 15 deaths and 1,002 injuries – including 43 serious injuries.

In 2009, the City of Ottawa lost 15 residents to speeding and 9 to murder.

According to Transport Canada, between 2002 and 2004, more than 700 people were killed and more than 3,500 were seriously injured each year in speed-related crashes. Speeding was a factor in about 25% of deaths and 20% of serious injuries from vehicle crashes.

But who are speeders? Speeders may be any driver; however, they are primarily young men. When you look at the statistics, as the father of a young son who won’t be driving age for some time, one of the best things I can do for him is ensure he is fully cognizant of the hazards of speeding.

The vast majority of speeding drivers who got into a fatal crash during 2002-2004 were men. Furthermore, 80% of speeders involved in a fatal crash were under the age of 45, and half of those speeders were aged 16-24 years.

When I started driving, my parents constantly reminded me about speeding and one thing they told me always flashed as a neon light in my head: no parent should outlive their child. Young adults (aged 16-24 years) account for one in three speed-related deaths.

These should be the best years of their lives: graduations, school-dances, proms, jobs, sports, travel and acquiring the necessary skills for an enjoyable and fruitful life.

We are all living our lives these days at a ‘just in time’ speed – but ask yourself, are the few seconds that you will save by driving faster than the speed limit – really worth the risk?

Surely sparing somebody’s child, spouse or parent is worth obeying speed limits or slowing down in bad weather. Recognizing that you’re driving in a school zone may save a child. Sparing yourself a heavy fine or losing your license is in your own best interest.

And so … why speed at all?