On the third Sunday of November, people around the world find ways to honor crash victims in the annual World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.
The CDC estimates that 1.35 million people are killed in traffic violence each year. Millions of crash victims sustain serious injuries.
These are unthinkable numbers. I know that, in my nearly 35 years of practice as a personal injury attorney, I have seen the aftermaths of hundreds of serious crashes and fatalities. On the World Day of Remembrance, here are some of the crash victims whose memories I will be honoring.
Anthony Qamar was a seismologist, and a research professor at the University of Washington. He and a colleague were driving down US 101 to collect data from an earthquake off the coast when a massive log truck dumped its load. The result was a horrific crash that fatally injured both Tony and his fellow scientist.
Garrett Underland was just 15 years old. He was riding in the car with some family friends when the vehicle was struck at full highway speed by a distracted semi-truck driver. This is one of the most devastating collisions I have ever seen.
Alexandru Culai was a 44-year-old Christian musician and professional truck driver. He was walking to pick up his tractor-trailer when he was struck and killed by a street sweeper in Bellevue, Washington. The fatal collision left his three sons without a father.
Adriana Brown was a skilled personal trainer at the Seattle gym where I am a member, and one of the only fatal crash victims whom I knew personally before her death. Adriana was crossing Western Avenue in Seattle, in the crosswalk, with the Walk signal, when she was struck and killed by a pickup truck.
While I am proud to have represented the families of all of these fatal crash victims, I am always aware of the profound loss that accompanies our work.
These deaths were not inevitable. They were not the result of “accidents,”but of predictable, preventable crashes. Each one left behind a circle of family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors.
The same is true for each one of the 1,350,000 crash victims, every year.
About the Day of Remembrance for Crash Victims
The objectives of WDoR 2020 are to provide a platform for road traffic victims and their families to:
- remember all people killed and seriously injured on the roads;
- acknowledge the crucial work of the emergency services;
- draw attention to the generally trivial legal response to culpable road deaths and injuries
- advocate for better support for road traffic victims and victim families;
- promote evidence-based actions to prevent and eventually stop further road traffic deaths and injuries
In previous years, people in cities around the world organized events to draw attention to this public health crisis. This year the service organized by RoadPeace, a charity for road crash victims, will be broadcast via Zoom.
Many of us will be thinking of the people we have lost, and those who have suffered, in traffic crashes.
Attorney Kevin Coluccio