A Safe-Driving Campaign to Drive Home the Point of Everyone's Worth

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New safe-driving campaign by the International Forgiveness Institute uses psychological principles developed in forgiveness education research to help save lives.

"Every person has inherent worth and we need to apply that to everyone we share the road with." Dr. Robert Enright

A Wisconsin non-profit organization that has spent the past 25 years developing scientifically-tested Forgiveness intervention materials used in countries around the world, has decided to expand its focus to use those same principles in saving lives on the roads and highways.

DRIVE FOR OTHERS' LIVES is a public awareness campaign created by the International Forgiveness Institute (IFI) and announced today by its co-founder Dr. Robert Enright, a UW-Madison psychology professor who has gained international recognition for his work.

According to Dr. Enright, the “tested and proven-to-work” Forgiveness Education principles he and his colleagues have developed since establishing the IFI in 1994, are the same principles that can be used to develop pro-social behaviors that will help save the lives of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians using America’s highways and roads.

“Distracted driving is a public health issue that affects every single one of us in this country and more needs to be done to reduce the tragic numbers,” Dr. Enright says. “It won’t be easy, just as forgiving someone who has harmed you isn’t necessarily easy, but we believe that traffic fatalities are 100 percent preventable.”

The latest statistics, released in February by the National Safety Council (NSC), show motor vehicle fatalities increased 6 percent during 2016. The 2016 total of more than 40,200 traffic deaths comes after a 7 percent rise in 2015 and means the two-year increase — 14 percent — is the largest in more than half a century.

“Why are we as a society not outraged with numbers like that?” Dr. Enright asks. “One of the most important and factual concepts we teach in our Forgiveness classes is that every person has inherent worth, so we need to apply that to everyone we share the road with and “DRIVE FOR OTHERS’ LIVES” as our bumper sticker says.”

According to Dr. Enright, the IFI’s safe-driving campaign will initially focus on the United States and then expand globally to include:

  • A safe-driving public information crusade that will employ public service announcements (radio ads like those the IFI has used successfully during the past few years to create a growing awareness about the importance of forgiveness; media alerts; Driving Facts & Figures materials; and newsletters targeting especially-vulnerable younger drivers).
  • A major expansion of the IFI website to include a plethora of safe-driving information that the organization has assembled (and continues to gather) from more than 40 public, private, and non-profit traffic safety organizations--a collection of useful data and guidance which can all be accessed at no cost from the IFI’s website. The website can be accessed here.. Campaign information is available under the "Safe Driving" drop-down menu at the top of the IFI website.
  • A multi-disciplined team approach to developing--and recommending implementation of--new safe-driving awareness activities based on the results of the latest psychological testing (as well as testing the IFI will initiate on this issue in the future).
  • Free distribution of a professionally-designed and printed vehicle bumper sticker "DRIVE FOR OTHERS' LIVES" (actual size: 11.5" x 3"). The sticker has a glossy finish that will resist damage from the sun and the elements for years while the removable adhesive backing will not leave any residue on the surface where it is affixed. Bumper Sticker Request Form:

Most importantly, Dr. Enright emphasizes, the bumper sticker will alert everyone who sees it to remember that safe driving practices are for everyone--because every person is special, unique, and irreplaceable, possessing inherent worth.

The bumper sticker campaign will be led by Jacqueline Song, an IFI principal researcher who is currently leading forgiveness research projects with homeless people in both Madison, WI, and Edinburgh, Scotland, as well as a project with inmates in one of Wisconsin’s correctional facilities. Her interest in encouraging more civility on the road started when she, as a pedestrian, was hit by a drunk driver.

Song is a native of the Philippines where road crash deaths increased by 46 percent from 2006 to 2015. Children, the most vulnerable being those 5-9 years old, account for nearly one in every 10 Philippines traffic death (9.96%).

“A single life lost to a traffic crash is one life too many because it will mark the end of that person's tremendous potential and the gifts that he or she could otherwise share with family members, our communities, and our world,” Dr. Enright adds. “This campaign is based on one simple purpose -- to save lives.”

The NSC and several other national traffic safety organizations have proclaimed April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month in a united effort to recognize and eliminate preventable deaths from distracted driving. A poster on the expanded IFI website, however, counters with “Every Month Is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.”

According to Song, the IFI has received a project donation that enables the organization to provide two free stickers per address until the funds are exhausted. Requests can be emailed to the IFI at: internationalforgiveness(at)gmail(dot)com.
We are encouraging all people to join us in this campaign because all of us possess the inherent worth that should be protected on the road. People’s simple act of displaying the bumper sticker may save lives.

Distracted Driving Statistics Sidebar -

The Disturbing Statistics of Distracted Driving:

  • Every 7 seconds, someone is injured in a car crash.
  • Every 15 minutes, someone is killed.
  • 40,000+ people were killed in car crashes in 2018.
  • 4.5 million people were seriously injured in car crashes last year.
  • 6,227 pedestrians were killed in 2018—a 51% increase compared to 2009.
  • Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 cause of workplace death.
  • 94% of all crashes in the US are caused by driver error.
  • Mobile phones kill more people than guns do.
  • 13.5 million American drivers are using a cell phone at any given moment.
  • 15 people are killed every day in the US as a result of cell phone use.
  • 27% of all motor vehicle crashes are caused by cell phone use or texting.
  • 95% of all text messages are read within 5 minutes of receipt by drivers in the US.
  • More than 10,000 people died in alcohol-related crashes in the US in 2017—that’s nearly 30% of all traffic fatalities.

Statistics provided by:
National Safety Council (NSC),
Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA),
and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

About the International Forgiveness Institute

The International Forgiveness Institute (IFI) is a 501c(3) not-for-profit organization that was established 25 years ago by Dr. Robert Enright, a psychology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and fellow-psychologist Dr. William Walker, who earlier in his career had set up Mid-West Family Broadcasting Group which boasted more than 40 radio stations in five states.

The two psychologists not only launched the IFI, but they also launched the psychology of forgiveness—the totally-new study of how people go about forgiving others in the face of deep injustice—because they believed that forgiveness is a choice. If you have been deeply hurt by another, they rationalized, you can choose to forgive rather than hold on to debilitating anger and resentment. In doing so, you initiate an amazing transformation through which anxiety and depression give way to enhanced self-esteem and genuine feelings of hopefulness. By liberating yourself from the pain and sorrow, the psychologists said, you could reclaim your life and find the peace that your anger had stolen.

The groundbreaking work of the two psychologists led to creation of the first scientifically-proven forgiveness intervention program in the country (the 4-phase “Process Model of Forgiving”) along with many other notable discoveries. After Dr. Walker’s death in 2003, Dr. Enright’s research prowess continued to grow. Time magazine called him “the forgiveness trailblazer.” The Los Angeles Times said Dr. Enright is “the guru of what many are calling a new science of forgiveness.” The Christian Science Monitor called him “the father of forgiveness research.”

Dr. Enright is the author or editor of seven books, and over 100 publications centered on social development and the psychology of forgiveness. His “Enright Forgiveness Inventory” is now used by researchers around the world as the objective measure of the degree to which one person forgives another who has hurt him or her deeply and unfairly. Since 2002, Dr. Enright’s work has focused almost exclusively on the development of forgiveness education curricula for children in war-torn, impoverished, and/or oppressed areas of the globe. His elementary school program in Belfast, Northern Ireland, has been operating continuously for 17 years and continues to grow. Similar programs are now operating in more than 30 countries around the world.

The IFI is not affiliated with any religious or political organization or with any University. Learn more at internationalforgiveness.com.

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