DWI and DUI are widely-known driving offenses that need little explanation. DWD, on the other hand, is still in the back seat of common traffic lingo. If you’re struggling to come up with the words behind the acronym, here’s a hint: don’t look it up on your phone while driving. As a matter of fact, if you’re reading this behind the wheel, PUT THE PHONE DOWN! Here’s why…
Driving While Distracted accidents are frightfully common— DWD-related crashes killed 5,474 people and injured another 448,000 across the United States in 2009, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Travis Lachmansingh knows this stat all too well. His aunt Anita Zaffke was one of the 5,474. She was killed in May 2009 after being rear-ended at a stop light by a driver who was painting her nails.
As a result, Lachmansingh, a Maple Grove resident, started to scrutinize his own driving habits.
“I was able to change things I had never even thought of as being dangerous,” he explains, “and I wanted to do my best to help others close to me—and even complete strangers—re-think their habits and nuances behind the wheel.”
CRASH Coalition was officially started in January 2010 by members of Zaffke’s family to raise charity, awareness and advocacy for DWD crash victims. The organization is having its inaugural Drive for CRASH Victim Charity Golf Tournament at Maple Grove’s Pheasant Acres Golf Course (1075 County Road 116) on June 9. The 18-hole scramble will have a shotgun start at 1 p.m. (check-in is at 11:30 a.m.) and a dinner, awards and raffle will follow from 6-8 p.m.
Lachmansingh, a founding board member and secretary on the executive board, says the organization’s goal for the tournament is to create a fun and successful series of annual fundraisers for CRASH Coalition so it can provide much needed support for DWD crash victims and families.
“The financial burdens mount, as civil court is a dead-end option in many cases and insurance is often delayed, inadequate or non-existent,” Lanchmansingh explains. “Many cases involve children who have to deal with the emotional difficulties surrounding the loss of a parent and also the ongoing effects from the loss of a provider. We are working hard to raise funds to help pay medical bills, mortgage payments, set up college scholarships, etcetra, in order to help distracted driving crash survivors in any way we can.”
Lanchmansingh adds that golfers, sponsors and donors are still needed and can find all the necessary info to sign up at the Drive for Crash website. Companies interested in sponsoring or donating can email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for further info or questions. Readers who have been affected by a distracted driving crash or know someone who has and is in need of assistance, can visit the CRASH Coalition website and fill out a Survivor Assistance Fund application.