Concerned by the increasing danger that speeding cars posed to the families in her Charlotte, North Carolina neighborhood, Sherry Williams posted a simple, homemade sign in her front yard encouraging passersby to "Take the Pledge and Limit Your Speed." She also asked each of her friends to tell five friends about her Pledge (and to ask these friends to ask five of their friends, etc). Her message struck a welcome chord in her local community – which is home to three public schools – and quickly sparked a far-reaching groundswell of support. From this grassroots beginning, The Pledge was born.
Sherry was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1944 and has lived in Charlotte since 1970. She has a daughter, Kelly, and Sherry and her husband of 21 years, Sam, are together the proud grandparents of seven grandchildren. Although job and family demands often left little time for civic affairs during her daughter's upbringing, Sherry always managed to stay involved – keeping up on current events, voting diligently, and even writing her local newspaper from time to time (when she "felt inspired to right a wrong that needed righting"). She's worked full time with Sam, a Charlotte attorney, for the past 25 years, managing his law office and assisting with his law practice.
Living by the 'Golden Rule':
"My mother always told me to treat others as you would like to be treated," said Sherry, on her decision to start this grass-roots campaign. "It's the 'golden rule,' but it's amazing how many people forget it as soon as they're behind the wheel. I looked at the kids playing in my neighborhood, and I wished they could live in a world where people drove slowly enough so they'd have time to stop if one of those kids – or a pet – ran into the road … And then I thought, why not? What's stopping us from living in that world?"
The Pledge in Action:
The answer, as Sherry has proven, is us. As a direct result of the Pledge campaign, over 2,000 Take the Pledge to Slow Down campaign decals have been placed on all Charlotte Police Department vehicles. The Department is also instructing its officers to actively encourage Charlotte drivers, particularly speeders, to take "the Pledge," a signed contract to drive safely and courteously on neighborhood streets. Autobytel is also providing a prominent Charlotte circuit court judge with Pledge certificates to support his policy of asking all traffic offenders who enter his courtroom to take the Pledge.
The very good news is that speeding has dramatically decreased in Sherry's neighborhood. The even BETTER news is that Sherry's neighborhood is just the beginning. For example, in Los Angeles, over 2,000 Take the Pledge to Slow Down campaign decals and over one hundred lawn signs have been distributed by Los Angeles Police Safety Officers in schools throughout the city. Since Autobytel's national Pledge campaign has gone live on www.carsmart.com, thousands of concerned citizens from coast to coast have taken the Pledge online – a number which is likely to increase exponentially, now that the Pledge has rolled out on all of the Autobytel websites.
It Begins with You:
The goal of safer communities and saved lives begins with you. By taking the Pledge –and encouraging your friends, family and road-mates to do the same – you'll be helping to raise awareness of the potentially deadly impact of speeding and careless driving. You'll also serve as a shining example for a better, happier and safer America – a place where everyone drives like they would in their neighborhood.