National Passenger Safety Campaign

Observed during the last week in January

U.S. roadway deaths are rising again at an alarming rate. People are still driving recklessly. Drunk, drugged and distracted driving are on the rise. Just telling people to drive safely isn’t enough. We need to do more. We can do more! Passengers need to play a more active role in their own safety and that of others. Passengers need to be empowered to speak up and have the Courage to Intervene when their lives are threatened by an unsafe driver.

That is why We Save Lives and the National Road Safety Foundation have launched The National Passenger Safety Campaign. Our goal is to promote safe driving practices and prevent unsafe ones when we see them by empowering passengers to “SPEAK UP” when their lives are in danger from a reckless driver.

You have a choice! By speaking up you share that you care about the lives of your friends, family members and even strangers. We urge you – choose to stay safe by intervening.

People across the country are signing the Courage to Intervene Promise and letting everyone know they will not ride with anyone who is drunk, drugged, distracted.

Statistics show that in 2019:

  • 62% of all traffic fatalities are passengers.¹
  • 13% of those who died in alcohol related fatalities were passengers
  • 53% of children killed in alcohol related crashes were passengers.

Take Action and Get Involved

  • If you develop your own social media, please consider adding the NPSW logo, and the hashtag #PassengersSpeakUp
  • Write opinion editorials for your local newspapers; supporting the importance of passenger safety
  • Write blogs emphasizing the need for empowering passengers
  • Share stories of passengers you know have intervened
  • Download and share our Courage to Intervene checklist

Laura's Story

Do You Know with Whom Your Teen is Riding?

Melinda Lynam will never forget the day when she learned that her daughter, Laura, was killed in a crash as a passenger in a car with 7 teens including the 16-year-old driver. Under the Graduated Driver Licensing Law in Virginia, the driver was only allowed one extra person who wasn’t a family member. Unbeknownst to Melinda, Laura and her friends had decided to all ride in one car. Despite the driver’s age and restrictions, two mothers watched as their children piled into the car. Neither parent expressed any concern over the number of passengers or the inexperience of the driver. If they had, Laura might be alive today.

Do You Have The Courage to Intervene?

We see a friend who’s had too much to drink at a party walking to their car and we don’t stop them.

We watch as a family member picks up a phone call behind the wheel.

We let a friend leave our house to drive to the store after smoking some marijuana “because it’s just down the street.”

These things happen countless times every single day, and they frequently end with arrests, shame, humiliation, huge fines, and many times these choices end injury and death. Whatever the outcome, people are usually left wishing that they had done something more.

  • If only I had stopped that friend from driving drunk.
  • If only I had said something when the driver picked up that phone call.
  • If only I told my friend to keep their marijuana use at home.
  • If only I had the Courage To Intervene.

One courageous voice can stop one deadly choice.

Have the Courage to Intervene.

Questions to ask your teen before they become a passenger:

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How old is the driver?
Does the driver have a valid driver’s license?
How much experience do they have driving and how long have they been driving?
Are they wearing seat belts in the car?
Will you promise to always buckle up?
Do they like to speed?
Do we know the driver of the vehicle?
If not, are they willing to meet with us when they pick you up?
Will they give us your destination and will you call us if there is a change in plans?
Do you have your proper identification with you just in case something happens?
Will the driver share with us their parents contact info?
How many other passengers will be in the car?
What time will you be home?
Will you promise to call me if the driver is under the influence so I can pick you up?
Do you know if the driver is on any kind of medication that may interfere with their driving?
Do they use their cell phone or Bluetooth while driving?
Will you sign the Courage to Intervene Promise? Will you let the driver know you have signed the promise?

Courage to Intervene PSAs

Get Social

We’ve assembled social media graphics for you to help raise awareness on the importance of passenger safety. Use the button below or click to download the Social Media Content Kit… Be sure to use the hashtags #NationalPassengerSafety #NPSW #PassengersSpeakUp and tag us on social media @WeSaveLives @NRSForg

Kids Speaking Up for Road Safety

Traditionally, students learn about distracted driving in high school, at or just before they will get their licenses. End Distracted Driving and Safe Roads Alliance didn’t want to wait until teens are ready to drive to teach them about distracted driving. Working with elementary teachers and experts, the program helps parents and educators teach students about the dangers of distracted driving and pedestrian safety. Students are taught to recognize when their drivers are distracted and how to respectfully, using “I” statements, speak up and ask drivers to put their phones down.

We need your help in creating a generation of kids who won’t drive distracted when they do get their licenses.

This is Why We Need to Empower Passengers to Speak Up

My daughter was killed in a single vehicle crash caused by her father who had a .22 BAC and he was loaded with marijuana. I was working two jobs at the time and I went to my second job. I actually talked to him on the phone and begged him not to take Cydnye with him, but he didn’t listen. I feel so guilty, I should have done something more, threatened to call the police or something. Why didn’t I?

Karen E. Ring

Evan Bard was a beautiful, vibrant young woman who was killed in May of 2013 in an impaired driving crash. She and her fiancé were attending the wedding of her best friend when they decided to leave. They were both obviously impaired and despite the bride’s concerns, she said nothing while Evan and her fiancé piled into their car, both too drunk to drive. On the way home Evan’s fiancé crashed into a pole killing her and injuring him. If only someone had the “courage to intervene” Evan would be alive today.

Evan’s father, Todd Bard

I have lost a friend this week. We met in college, and both had two beautiful daughters that went to preschool together. She died in a crash and I found out because her daughter (14) posted on Facebook. Three days after the news of her untimely death I found out she was the passenger of a vehicle that was being driven by her drunken boyfriend. He was driving the wrong way on a one-way street. He was going to hit another vehicle head on but swerved so impact was on the passenger side which killed her instantly. Why didn’t she stop him from driving or find another way home?

Nicole Ramos

Taylor & Meredith’s Story

Two beloved sisters were tragically killed that morning when the vehicle they were in left the road, struck an embankment and then a tree. […]

Kendal’s Story

I remember all the vivid and surrealistic details of that fate-filled day. I can recite what I had on and the section of the coveted Sunday […]

Connor’s Story

On April 10, 2011, my son, Connor was killed as a passenger in a single vehicle, distracted driving crash. He was just 21 years old. He […]

Cole’s Story

My only child, my son, Cole Kilgore was a loving, loyal, charismatic young man with beautiful blue eyes and an engaging bright smile. From a young […]

My son was suddenly taken from me on December 15, 2019, by a drunk driver, his so-called friend. My son was a passenger in a single vehicle crash. My son was killed and the driver survived. The driver, his friend, left him on the side of the road and didn’t try to get help. The driver only got 3 years. My son is gone for an eternity.

Bear Weasel Moccasin

Today is my son’s 12th year in heaven. He was riding in the back of a car driven by a 16-year-old, who had his license for only 30 days, who was also drinking and high on pot. I try not to get angry, but sometimes it’s hard. The driver also died. But someone’s lack of responsibility took my son from me. He was only 16.

Donna Uzzi

National Passenger Safety Week in the News