Lutzie 43 Unveils New Safe Driving Initiative
When you think of breast cancer awareness… what symbol do you think of? Most people will picture the pink cancer ribbon.
When you think of Livestrong… what symbol comes to mind? Although the movement peaked a few years ago, many still recall the yellow Livestrong bracelets.
When you think of distracted driving awareness… what do you picture? Some will say the iPhone with a red line through it, others will not know what to say. That is because there is currently not a nationally-recognized symbol for distracted driving awareness and prevention.
The Lutzie 43 Foundation is working to change the narrative on distracted and unsafe driving by creating a nationally-recognized symbol to represent distracted driving awareness and prevention. At the start of National Teen Driver Safety Week on October 22, we announced the 43 Key Seconds initiative to take on this issue.
To formally unveil the 43 Key Seconds campaign, we hosted a press conference on at the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation office. The press conference was attended by our board members, Arthur and Angie Blank, representatives from the safety industry and other key stakeholders and supporters.
As the event started, Mike Lutzenkirchen took time to remember why we had gathered, which all points back to Philip Lutzenkirchen. Four years ago, Philip made poor decisions in the car that ultimately lead to his passing. Though he was not the driver, Philip still got into the car with someone who had been drinking and did not fasten his seatbelt. Mike firmly believes that if Philip had clicked his seatbelt, he would be here today and we would not have the Lutzie 43 Foundation.
Mike explained that the goal of our 43 Key Seconds initiative is to change the narrative on unsafe and distracted driving, creating positive ambassadors for change in this area. He wants to ensure that what happened to Philip and the rest of the passengers in the car on June 29, 2014 will happen to less and less people each year, ultimately eradicating the issue.
The 43 Key Seconds initiative involves several key factors:
- The physical 43 Key Seconds key
- The Safe Driving Checklist
- The 43 Key Seconds talk
- The 43 Key Seconds Safe Driving Pledge
In addition to announcing the new 43 Key Seconds initiative at the press event, the foundation also announced the awarding of a grant for $239,000 from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation in support of this new initiative. Angie Blank has been a strong leader in the community as an advocate for safe driving and prevention, as unsafe a distracted driving is the number one cause of death in teens ages 16-19. The Lutzie 43 Foundation is grateful for the support of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation.
“As someone passionate about promoting safe driving, I find it alarming that the number one cause of death in teens is a preventable occurrence. I am confident that Philip’s story will inspire change in this area, and fully believe his story will lead others to think twice before making poor decisions on the road. I am honored to have a hand in the 43 Key Seconds initiative and look forward to seeing the positive changes it produces on the roads,” Blank said during the press conference.
As the event came to a close, Harris Blackwood from the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety spoke to the number of lives lost each year on the roads and the difference an initiative like 43 Key Seconds can make on the roadways.
“Every morning I get a report of fatalities, and it is not an easy job,” said Blackwood. “We have so many words for people who have lost loved ones, but in all languages of the world there is not a word for a parent who has lost a child. The Lutzenkirchen family has used Philip’s tragedy to turn their loss into something positive. The foundation’s 43 Key Seconds initiative is helping to make the number of deaths caused by distracted driving go down by working on prevention.”
Mike closed the event with a tone of hope and excitement for the future of the foundation and this new initiative. He explained how grateful he is for all of the support that the foundation has already received for this initiative from people like Nick Saban, Gus Malzahn, Dabo Swinney and Mark Richt, as well as additional coaches and government officials.
We are just getting started on what is sure to be a great journey to change the narrative on unsafe and distracted driving. We could not have gotten here without your support. Thank you for everything you mean to the foundation!