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Roadside Memorials to Highway Accidents

Drunk drivers account for 40-60% of all admissions to hospital trauma centers and emergency departments in the United States.  Grim statistics, however, cannot match the power of roadside memorials along our highways that commemorate those who lost their lives in fatal automobile accidents.

Many state legislatures still debate whether to implement proven measures to reduce drunk driving deaths.  In our own state of Maryland, recent legislative sessions included arguments for stronger penalties for drunk driving, but the concept of initiating treatment for alcohol abuse/dependence while injured drunk drivers are recovering in the hospital was not even considered.

It’s easy to get lost in statistics and be numbed to human suffering while delving into the obstacles about implementing programs to control drunk driving.  To serve as reminder and incentive to initiate alcohol/drug treatment for those admitted to trauma centers and hospital emergency rooms after drunk driving accidents, the Innovators Program commissioned an exhibition of photographs of roadside memorials in the Baltimore/Washington area (see below).

Roadside memorials mark the site of lives lost before their time.  Does the teddy bear mark a child’s death?  What sports did the athlete love whose memorial is embroidered with his school’s letter?  Such memorials are a compelling call to action.  We must implement measures to reduce these tragedies by treating those with alcohol and drug problems. 

Roadside Memorials to Highway Accidents

Copyright 2004 The Johns Hopkins University. Baltimore, Maryland.
All rights reserved. Last Updated January 15, 2010

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