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This week the people of Las Vegas and Henderson lost a well loved member of both the Catholic and Education communities to a tragic accident involving a UPS truck in her own neighborhood.  Albeit, it sounds like it was the text book definition of an accident, the poor woman was hit by an unsuspecting UPS driver who honestly did not see her.  However, it was most likely one that could have been avoided.

After hearing about this, I visited the 8 News Now links on FaceBook that were reporting the information to the general public.  I read the comments submitted by locals, and it got me thinking, regardless of who is at fault in this situation, I am going out on a limb and saying that we have all been guilty of negligent actions either being a pedestrian or a driver.

The world is just not the same as it was 50, 25 or even 15 years ago.  We have different distractions, different directions, different timetables.  Though we specifically need to be cautious of things like drug, alcohol and cell phone abuse while driving, most especially in our 24-hour town, there are new distractions to add to that list that are just as damaging and dangerous.

We drive bigger cars.  We are in a bigger rush to get places.  Spaces are smaller, and there’s more people living in them. And, let’s be honest, people seem to commute with a sense of entitlement.   I’m not here to offend anyone, again, I’m guilty of it, too.  Think about when you are cruising around in a parking lot.  Your time is way more valuable than anyone else’s and therefore, they all need to get out of your way!  You need that space more than the next guy.  Or how about the person who is backing out and doesn’t bother to look because they are convinced that they have the right away because they are backing out.  My favorite is in the school parking lots where people are more concerned about getting in and out of that zoo more so than they are about the kids who come running out between parked cars.  I, myself, have even bumper dinged a car in front of me as I was exiting the school because I was paying more attention to a bunch of little kids running through the lot trying to get to school on time.

Pedestrians are just as bad, if not worse.  Trying to talk on the phone or text while walking, sometimes holding bags and kids and strollers all at the same time.  I always remember my mother yelling at me when I was about 9 years old because I loved to read.  I would literally walk around with my nose stuck in a book.  One time, we were walking through a parking lot, her, trying to keep an eye on three kids, and I had my head burried in a book.  You cannot see a car coming if you are reading a book, or trying to answer a text.  I also love how pedestrians walk into the street or through the parking lot thinking people are going to stop for them.  Yes, pedestrians do have the right away, but one should never assume a car is going to stop.  We still need to utilize common sense. Especially with all the daily distractions people have going on in their own lives, you never can be sure that person is looking out for your safety.

I know we have all been there, either the guilty party or the one who is trying to avoid hitting people.  I just want to remind everyone to Stop the Madness. Get present to what is happening.  Be in the moment.  Pay attention.  Let your ego go.  It’s OK to let someone get in front of you, or to stop to let someone cross the street.  In fact, you’ll be a better citizen for it.  You’ll pay it forward and maybe start a trend.  We all need a little more presence in our life to feel some sense of control.  In a way, we are allowing all these distractions to take over and create chaos.  We need to reel it back in and remind each other to take care of each other.  A simple minute of being present to your surroundings helps to avoid senseless accidents that could easily be avoided.

I’ve committed to keeping my phone in my purse once I leave the house, and only to take it out if I am in a secure place where my distractions and actions are not going to harm myself or others.  I commit to being more present so I can be a good example for my children on how to be a concerned, cautious and caring citizen.

What are you committing to in order to keep our community a safer place to be, live and play?