A Conversation with Monika Samtani
Monika Samtani is an award-winning journalist, a business entrepreneur, and a mother of three. As a media professional for over 20 years, currently the traffic anchor on Washington, DC’s WUSA 9’s Morning News, and the host for a morning news transportation segment called the Extra Mile, Monika provides a unique perspective on traffic safety. She understands the importance for all of us to “just drive.”
Going the Extra Mile
While reporting traffic crashes from around the Washington D.C. metro area, Monika sees the significant impact poor choices can have on driving. Speaking with me between her traffic reports, Monika provides a glimpse into the world of reporting traffic crashes, and why she says, “Just drive.”
During her Extra Mile segment, Monika interviews traffic safety professionals on what can be done to be safer. Her interviews include speaking with Tim Hollister, Author and National Teen Driver Safety Advocate, and Kate Carr, CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide. A side-benefit of all that she has learned at work allows her to share it with her family, including her teenage son who is just learning to drive. Accused by her son of ‘knowing too much,’ Monika discusses what we all need to do to be safe drivers.
In her ‘free time,’ Monika is the President of Ms. Media, producing videos and providing public speaking training, and the founder of the Launch Network, a premiere networking organization connecting entrepreneurs and professional women in the U.S.
A New Direction
Also during this episode, as the Traffic Safety Guy, I talk about the New Year and call on all of us to take a new direction for safety. For many, the New Year is a time of resolutions and individual efforts for self-improvement. Self–improvement should not be limited to our health. Did you know that:
- A 5% cut in average speed can result in 30% reduction in the number of fatal crashes.
- Not drinking and driving significantly reduces the risk of a traffic crash.
- Wearing a motorcycle helmet correctly can result in a 40% reduction to risk of death and 70% reduction of a serious injury.
- Wearing seat belts reduces the risk of a fatal injury by 50% for the front seat occupants and up to 75% for the rear seat passengers.
- Child restraints reduce the likelihood of a fatal crash 70% for infants and 54%-80% for young children.
What could be more about self-improvement than taking action to be a safer driver?
Many countries have strong national laws covering these specific issues, but the vast majority of countries acknowledge that more has to be done to enforce them. For a societal change, it takes awareness, understanding AND enforcement. Yet knowledge IS power, and each of us can make a difference; a difference in our own lives, and in the lives of those around us.
A New Year’s Resolution for Safety
During this New Year, resolve to take a new direction in your life. Take this time to understand the importance of your actions. Recognize that each of us plays a role in saving lives. Use your expanding awareness and implement new behaviors to be a safer driver.
In this time of reflection of years past and contemplation of dreams to come, I wish you a very safe and joyous journey wherever life’s road takes you.
Happy New Year!
- Highway to Safety Podcast, Episode 5 – Kate Carr
- Highway to Safety Podcast, Episode 6 – Tim Hollister
- Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over National Winter Crackdown – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx
- Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over National Winter Crackdown – NHTSA Administrator Strickland
- Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over National Winter Crackdown – MADD President Jan Withers