Sometimes it’s better to ask clarification before blogging an uniformed opinion

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I was going to blog about seeing the number of traffic fatalities on those interstate signs in several states across the United States. I’ve seen them in Colorado, Iowa, Texas and maybe others.

The signs typically say something along these lines:

89 traffic deaths this year in the state

And I was wondering: What does that mean? Is that up or down? Why is it what it is? What should we take from it?

The journalist came out and I wanted context! I was ready to write that kind of post: Give me some context!  Please!

Every life certainly matters so even one traffic deaths is too many! I still had questions about the numbers…

Instead of just sharing my uneducated opinion, I first decided to reach out to the Iowa Department of Transportation on Twitter to ask about those signs. Hats off to them for responding within seconds!

You can see that entire conversation here:

Iowa DOT

 

The DOT posted numbers as public awareness messages and in the hopes of them being conversation starters. I suppose the sign achieved its goal with me. I’m certainly talking about it. ­čÖé

You can also go to the Iowa Zero Fatalities site┬áto learn more about fatalities in Iowa and the number of annual deaths. Looks like the high since 2001 was in 2005 when 450 people lost their lives on Iowa’s roadways. In 2014, we saw 321.

As you can see it’s a worthwhile project that I certainly hope we can achieve one of these days.

The lesson learned here for us storytellers is that to gather unknown facts, we have to ask questions. It’s certainly OK for us to share our opinions on our blogs, but don’t forget about asking questions first and continuously when it helps us share a fuller and more meaningful story.

zero fatalities