Today (Nov. 28) is Drive Safer Sunday, the sixth annual national observance of an event created in memory of Cullum Owings ’03 by Road Safe America, an advocacy group founded by Cullum’s parents and brother, Pierce ’06.
At the end of the 2002 Thanksgiving vacation, Cullum and Pierce were driving back to Washington and Lee from their home in Atlanta when their car was struck from behind by a tractor-trailer on I-81, just three miles from the Lexington exit. Cullum, a senior, was killed in the accident; Pierce , a freshman, sustained minor injuries.
Road Safe America is designed to bring awareness of the hazards of highway travel and to campaign for better driver training for all drivers and a limit to the top speed for large trucks. Each year the organization reminds drivers of the special dangers on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, the busiest day of the year for highway travel.
The Road Safe America website includes an electronic petition, urging the administration to order activation of speed governors set at 65 mph on all large commercial vehicles.
In a recent article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Pierce cited pending regulation in front of the Department of Transportation calling for all electronic governors on trucks to be programmed at a top speed of 65 miles per hour. “If [DOT Secretary Ray] LaHood rules favorably on that, it’s something that could save lives immediately,” he said.
Pierce went on to talk about his family’s efforts in memory of his brother.
“Cullum was my big brother and my best friend,” he told the Journal Constitution. “I am proud of my parents for taking something that is so horrible for my family and trying to help others by getting the speed governors done so that other families don’t experience what we did.”
If you’re traveling on Sunday, drive safer in Cullum’s memory.