By Bree Collar, Sentinel Staff Writer
“Buckle-up, allow three seconds between vehicles and arrive safe” was the message that Blue Ridge Police Chief Johnny Scearce and Program Supporter Ron Scherer gave to the Kiwanis Club of Blue Ridge June 24 during their weekly meeting.
Scherer, a volunteer firefighter and supporter of the “Drive the Three-Second Rule,” came up with launching the awareness effort in Georgia to help address some of the issues of road rage.
Since starting, Scherer has managed to place 30 permanent road signs around the community to remind drivers of staying back from a vehicle at the recommended safe distance.
Bandy Transport also displays the information on the back of 28 trailers that travel nationwide making deliveries. Business owner and Kiwanian Mike Guerrea said he would love the digital image of the sign to have stickers made for his company vehicles.
Taking the initiative to get this program going and putting up signs could not have been done without Scherer’s commitment and continued pursuit in belief of its importance, Scearce said.
“It’s a good project to be a part of because really and truly if we can save one life, we’re doing good,”
The National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA) has been battling to stop road rage and over the last 20 years the National Safety Council started recommending a three-second rule, Scearce said.
Some staggering statistics show the importance of taking up this campaign when over 620 individuals have been killed on Georgia roads last year.
Nationwide 32 percent of all crashes in the United States result from rear impact collisions. In a pamphlet dispersed at Monday’s meeting, it also said the best way to determine the minimum safe following distance is the three-second rule.
“When the vehicle in front of you passes a stationary object on the side of the road, start counting and in three seconds you (the driver) should theoretically pass that object,” Scherer said.
Scearce added that while the three-second or more rule is in all driver’s manuals across all 50 states it has never been promoted this far southeast.
In some states Scherer said driver’s manuals require four to six seconds. With current state laws only saying requirements are to “maintain a distance that is reasonable and prudent” he is working with Speaker of the House David Ralston and local government to make the importance of staying a safe distance from other drivers a top priority.
The National Safety Council started 50 years ago working on recognizing the problem. Over the decades, changes came about in the ‘60s that adopted the three-second rule. When bad weather and road conditions exist, drivers should add an extra second to the three-second rule. It is also important to allow 20-feet between vehicles when stopped in traffic.
“Road rage is pretty bad. You think family domestic situations are bad, but it happens on the roads too,” Scearce cautioned.
Anyone interested in sponsoring a sign can also get involved and have their information at the bottom of the sign showing support by the community of the importance of the program. “We’re looking for people who are interested in helping in one way or another,” Scherer said.
For more information on the Arrive Safe campaign and the importance of following the three-second rule visit www.arrivesafeusa.org.