A bereaved mother whose 28-year-old son was killed by a drunk driver two years ago while biking on SE Division, has launched a website. Faces of Fatalities: Resources for Hit and Run Victims and Their Families is the work of Kristi Finney-Dunn. Since her son Dustin died in August 2011, Finney-Dunn has dedicated herself to public service and citizen activism and this website appears to be just her latest effort to spur the public dialogue around the scourge of dangerous driving and hit-and-run collisions.
Since her powerful and emotional address to her son’s killer in a Multnomah County courtroom just four months after the tragic collision, Finney-Dunn has worked tirelessly to share her story: She speaks at three different classes — DUII Victim Impact, High Risk Driver, and Share the Road — through the Trauma Nurses Talk Tough program at Legacy Emanuel Hospital; she speaks at Stop DUI Victim Impact Panels several times each month; she has testified to the Oregon Legislature about hit-and-run laws; she is a regular commenter here on BikePortland.org; she maintains a blog; she has co-facilitated a workshop at the NW Justice Forum; and she has even become a media spokesperson.
City of Portland Transportation Safety Summit.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)
With this new website, Finney-Dunn has taken yet another step toward becoming a voice to be reckoned with on this very important topic.
Visitors to FacesOfFatalities.com can learn about Oregon’s existing hit-and-run laws and find a myriad of helpful resources including: statewide hit-and-run statistics; what hit-and-run victims should do after the collision; how to prevent collisions in the first place; where to find support groups after losing a loved one; and a recommended list of books to help cope with tragedy.
As we reported last month, Oregon has a long road ahead in changing the legal context and societal behaviors that lead to our current “hit-and-run culture”. The good news is that citizen activists like Kristi Finney-Dunn — people that have been personally impacted by tragedy — have a long history of helping spur real change.
It takes a tremendous amount of courage for someone with no experience in transportation policy or activism to step up and fight like this — especially when the issue is daunting even for professional, full-time advocates. Finney-Dunn’s commitment to take on this challenge and her willingness to turn an immense personal tragedy into activism is an inspiring lesson for all of us.
We hope her website can help organize other activists and provide a rallying point for future actions. And we have a feeling we will be hearing a lot more from Kristi in the future — especially in the next legislative session. Stay tuned.
I hope she is successful in changing the laws. From her website:
“unlicensed drivers are 66.36 times more likely to hit and run than licensed driver”
Not 66 percent more likely. 66 times more likely. Unlicensed drivers tend to pose a grave threat to everyone else, and we need to do everything we can to keep them off the road. One place to start would be to crack down on unlicensed driving.
Incredibly, driving without a license isn’t necessarily even a crime in Oregon. It’s just a traffic violation unless the person’s license was revoked or suspended for certain serious driving violations.
Being caught while driving without a license or with a suspended license should result in impounding of the vehicle you are driving at the time. The vehicle would then be sold at state auction and the proceeds would go to funding road safety improvement projects or increased enforcement. We need to stop playing around with people’s lives.
There are heroes among us, and Kristi Finney-Dunn is certainly one.
As the victim of a hit-and-run myself I applaud her efforts.
Is there any research into why hit and runs seem to be increasing? Beyond just unlicensed/drunk drivers, is there a cultural attitude shift that is increasingly making people feel like hit and runs are ok?
In the UK the car is impounded, tho’ not necessarily taken off them permanently
OMG, I’m feeling the pressure. My husband is sitting here next to me right now, saying What’s your game plan? What’s my game plan? I have a game plan? I just want people to stop killing and injuring each other so no one feels as bad as I do because my beautiful son is dead!