Our broken hearts ache for something positive to rise up from the worst tragedies.
It is January 28, 2015, on a straight stretch of Highway 33, east of Kelowna. It is broad daylight and road conditions are ideal. A Mitsubishi Lancer eases over the centre line. The tire tracks leading off the roadway show no sign of braking or evasive steering.
The crash down a 150-metre cliff takes the life of the sole occupant, Alexandra, who is just 21 years old.
Alexandra’s father is among the emergency services personnel at the scene. He tried to make sense of it and believes that his daughter, who had been overtired, may have fallen asleep.
Our hearts ache for this tragic loss of a young life and for those close to Alexandra who feel that loss so poignantly.
How could it be that something positive might come from this senseless tragedy? Each of us learning of it holds just a little tighter to our children.
As our memory of the loss fades, though, so does our grip. We ache for a more lasting legacy.
Might Alexandra’s senseless loss prevent another? Might her loss be leveraged to prevent a multitude of others?
‘Alexandra’s Story’ could be told in high school classrooms to help our young people learn and fully appreciate that motor vehicles are dangerous, heavy machinery requiring the utmost care and respect.
In my experience, though, young people may be the least in need of that lesson. Young people are products of our society’s driving culture.
We are all a product of our driving culture—a culture of complacency. Those of us motivated to change that culture face a horrendously uphill battle, countered every step of the way by advertising campaigns espousing the safety of motor vehicles and continual media reports suggesting that crashes don’t come with consequences.
Precious little is being done to change our driving culture.
Alexandra’s story could be the impetus for a road safety initiative requiring those obtaining, as well as renewing, our licences to sit through a half hour safety video. The photograph of those tire tracks could be the opening image.
Mass advertising is expensive, particularly when it is important to reach all demographics. By requiring a viewing of the video when obtaining and renewing our driver’s licences, we are guaranteed that everyone will benefit. It would require as little capital expenditure as the video production and a designated viewing room at each driver’s licence issuing location.
Let us pay our respects to Alexandra’s memory by making whatever contribution each of us can make to help prevent future road traffic tragedies. Those in positions of influence can do more than others.