Saving livesPublished 11:18pm Monday, September 24, 2012
Not so long ago, a local mother woke up with an urgent desire to do something to improve the safety of Beaufort County children.
Sarah Cutler, mother of four Northside High School students, started with one campaign to encourage young drivers not to text and drive, which alone was a noble cause. According to distraction.gov, 40 percent of teenagers say they have been in a car where the driver used a cellphone in a way that put them in danger.
Before the distracted driving campaign was off the ground, Cutler was devoting her time and efforts to a second issue. She organized a free safety-seat check.
The successful event gave parents the opportunity to ensure the safety of little ones and replaced about a dozen car seats that were unsafe to use.
Cutler said she plans to become a certified safety-seat inspector, which is a commitment that starts with a weeklong training session.
Cutler will be the first to list all of the support she received — from Northside High School parents and faculty to state troopers and local businesses — but the efforts started with her.
We’ll never know how many lives Cutler’s events saved, but children restrained in child-safety seats have an 80-percent lower risk of being killed in a wreck than those who are unrestrained, according to Safe Kids USA.
Distraction.gov had a few more staggering statistics. More than 3,000 people were killed in 2010 in crashes involving distracted driving. Another 416,000 people were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver.
Cutler isn’t the first to offer safety seat checks, and there are other amazing people in this area (like Tracy O’Carroll) doing all they can to keep teenagers safe when they drive. She’s just the latest in a long list of people who proactively found a way to make Beaufort County a safer place to live.
Thanks to all of the Sarah Cutlers in this county for reminding us what a difference one person can make.
To learn more about safety seats, visit beyondjustbuckled.com. Learn more about what you can do to prevent distracted driving at distraction.gov.