We are posting this saddening topic here on the ADoNA website in the hope that it helps in the THSO’s aim of persuading people not to become the cause of a tragedy which requires this terrible outcome.
The Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) recently distributed a public service announcement called “The Knock at the Door,” to show what easily qualifies as the worst job in the world, namely the personal delivery by police and other law enforcement officers of fatality messages to unsuspecting loved ones. A very large proportion of such messages relate to road and highway crashes.
According to the Tennessee Integrated Traffic Analysis Network (TITAN), there have been 692 traffic fatalities on Tennessee roadways so far in 2017. This time last year, that number was 682.
“Every traffic fatality means that a death notification will be delivered to a family who is not expecting to lose a loved one,” said THSO Director Vic Donoho. “In order to change driver behavior and prevent future fatalities, I believe it’s important to educate Tennesseans about death notification. We hope that if people understand the gravity of this, then they will choose to make better decisions behind the wheel.”
Now, with a view to explaining the significance of death notification and the need for change in driver behavior, the THSO has also released video commentary called “Knock at the Door Discussed” to inform Tennesseans on the purpose of the original PSA video.
Going somewhat beyond the actual police role in such matters, Chaplain Andy Toopes from the archive of the Police Chaplain Project makes the painful difficulty of such situations more clear when he talks about How to Deliver a Death Notification, however one thing he does not say which is intensely important — and which I was taught by my own first sergeant when I was a young police officer myself and had to learn to do this terrible job — was never to say what they do on television drama shows; never start by saying “I’m sorry but I’ve got some bad news for you…” The poor recipients of the message are already aware of that and terrified, so wasting time on such words just prolongs the agony of the situation. Having made absolutely sure you are talking to the right person it’s time to get straight to the hard facts.
Will this information persuade YOU to modify your driving habits so that you are never either the cause of your own loved ones having to suffer the trauma of sudden bereavement, or that you never cause it to happen to somebody else’s family? In the USA, this happens on average over one hundred and ten times a day…. EVERY day!
Additional source: The Cannon Courier.