"Tree of Life" a Beacon for Road Safety

Since Dec. 3, motorists passing the state capitol may have noticed a large lighted tree that somehow put them in mind of a crash rather a crèche.

That's the intent, anyway, of the Governor's Highway Safety Program (GHSP), which installed the memorial "Tree of Life" in Raleigh to promote save and sober driving.

Tree of Life Commemorates Over 1,000 Killed on North Carolina Roads in 2009

The tree is emblazoned with 1,346 lights, each one representing a person who died in a car crash in North Carolina during 2009. A dominant theme is the urgent importance of driving sober: Each of 394 red lights on the tree represents an alcohol-related fatality. At the opening ceremony, the tree was lit up by GHSP Director David Weinstein, N.C. MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) Executive Director Craig Lloyd, and Kristin Knutson, of Raleigh. Knutson was involved in an August 2009 crash caused by an impaired driver that killed her friend.

The dramatic Tree of Life is just one part of the Governor's Program to raise public awareness of motor safety. North Carolina law enforcement officers also resumed their "Booze It & Lose It" campaign of stepped-up patrols and checkpoints during the holiday season. The crackdown was first implemented on Labor Day, netting scores more holiday revelers than usual, and the end-of-year effort ran from December 3 through January 2.

If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, a lawyer with experience in the field of personal injury can help you evaluate your legal rights and protections.