One Person Can Be a Beacon of Change
Gerald Waters is one of New Zealand’s leading advocates on ways to effectively respond to alcohol and drug offenders. In 2010, his dear friend Katherine Kennedy was killed because of a drink driver. (“Drink Driving” is how New Zealand refers to impaired driving.) Gerald has committed himself to learning about, researching, and promoting evidence-based ways to end drink driving.
Hearing that the man who killed his friend had 17 prior drink driving convictions, and yet he was still drinking and driving, was “madness.” After this terrible tragedy, Gerald turned to understanding why this madness occurred. It was that journey that allowed him to develop his research and ultimately his message of change. Using his evidence-based research papers, and a drive for understanding, Gerald has brought together an impressive coalition of partners, and is changing how New Zealand responds to drink drivers. In this episode, Gerald discusses his journey and lets us hear about his perseverance and determination.
During our conversation, Gerald talks about building the coalition, and how he met individuals all across New Zealand who agreed with his research, and had previously felt that they were left in the dark, alone. With the power of his writing and the passion of his voice, Gerald let those individuals know that they were not alone and change is possible. He has become an inspiration of positive change. Because of Gerald’s activities, New Zealand has taken a fresh look at ending drink driving through the use of ignition interlock devices, DWI/Drug Courts, and more. Margaret Mead once said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Change is happening in New Zealand, and it can happen where you live.
Wrapping up, the Traffic Safety Guy discusses making changes in our own lives. It shouldn’t take the loss of a family member or friend for us to care. All it takes is an understanding that individually we can make a difference. “Change” starts at home. It means talking the talk and walking the walk. As a positive role model for not drinking and driving, we can impact our family and friends and save lives. As a positive role model we can all be an inspiration and make a difference.
Gerald Water’s Websites:
A Partial List of Gerald Water’s Research:
- Submission to the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee
- The Case for Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Courts in New Zealand
- Was This Preventable?