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Traffic Safety

Children in Utah cross in front of a “Safety Sally Sign” erected by the Spanish Fork Lions Club in 1950.

Children in Utah cross in front of a “Safety Sally Sign” erected by the Spanish Fork Lions Club in 1950.

Traffic Safety

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Touchstone Story #71

The first thing you might see driving into a county or town that is home to a Lions club is our familiar seal, accompanied by the words drive safely.

For decades, Lions have been spreading the word about traffic safety. In 1961, LION Magazine featured an article titled “Death Wears No Belt” with photos of fatal car accidents to emphasize the necessity of seat belts. Sgt. Elmer Paul, an Indiana State Highway patrolman, undertook a private mission to analyze accident statistics, asking, “Why do some people walk away from crushing crashes—and others die in piddling fender bumps?” He pored over accident report forms and came to the conclusion that motorists who wore seat belts were much more likely to survive a crash. Paul became a self-proclaimed “seat belt missionary,” teaming with LION Magazine and the Lions Club Safety Committee to spread the word.

The following year in British Columbia, Canada, when efforts to make automobile seat belts mandatory stalled, the Victoria Lions Club took action. The club rented a booth at the local Agricultural and Industrial Fair and distributed car accident statistics—and, more importantly, took orders for seat belts and seat belt installation. On subsequent weekends, club members installed government-approved seat belts in more than 1,500 automobiles at an auto body repair shop owned by a club member.

Seat belts did become standard, but the push for traffic safety continued. In 1983, the Briscea Cidneo Lions Club in Italy created a public awareness project called Il Casco, or ”The Helmet,” that targeted young motorcyclists who resisted wearing protective headgear. Conferences, public debates and school presentations helped get the word out that “with il casco, you are a smash!”

Educating children and teenagers about traffic safety remained a top priority in 2013, when the Marmaris Lions Club and Marmaris New Century Lions Club in Turkey organized a live children’s entertainment show in which a series of characters such as fairies, doctors and police officers illustrate traffic safety in a fun and informative way.

In 2014, Lions from Rameswaram, India, took to the streets with more than 100 police and Ramanathaswamy Temple staff in a two-wheeler rally to raise awareness about bicycle safety on the island community. Lions distributed safety pamphlets and stressed the life-saving utility of helmets.

The trademark of so many Lions, across the globe and over the years, is one of simple awareness: Buckle your safety belt. Wear a helmet. Look both ways. The simplest safety measures can make the biggest difference.

The Lions Club Briscea Cidneo in Italy promoted motorcycle safety in their Il Casco (“The Helmet”) campaign in 1983.

The Lions Club Briscea Cidneo in Italy promoted motorcycle safety in their Il Casco (“The Helmet”) campaign in 1983.

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