Just before midnight on October 6, 2017, my daughter, Katie Snyder Evans, lost control of a speeding drunk driver coming from the opposite direction, hit the median, flew into the air, and crashed into Katie’s car. and died.
Katie was 37 years old. Just seven weeks before her death, she gave birth to twin daughters who were born prematurely and were still in the hospital the night Katie died. Katie actually died on her way home from the hospital.
A year after Katie’s death, one question haunted me. With so much safety technology and self-driving car systems out there, why can’t we stop drunk driving? That drunk driver couldn’t have stolen Katie from us. am. her husband, Jacob; Her newborn twin daughters, Hannah and Sarah. her four young sons, Spencer, Travis, Nathaniel and Gideon; Me and his wife Claudia.
So I asked an automotive expert. Shingo, Executive of Utah State University’s John M. Huntsman School of Business. Through his position as Director of the Institute, I know many senior executives in the automotive industry. Because these companies use the Shingo model to drive organizational excellence. They confirmed that technology exists to stop drunk driving.
My daughter would still be alive if that tech was installed, as it should have been years ago. A parliamentary decision was required.
The Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act included language directing NHTSA to begin the rulemaking process and set final standards for passively impaired driving safety devices for all new vehicles within three years. . After that, it will take him two to three years for automakers to implement safety standards. I worked closely with anti-drink-driving mothers to help implement this new law.
As we await NHTSA’s rulemaking process, I am deeply saddened to learn of the increasing number of crashes that have taken our Katie from us.
New data from NHTSA show that America’s seven-quarter straight increase in traffic fatalities appeared to be reversed in the second quarter of last year, but the big picture remains untenable. Traffic fatalities are dramatically higher than they were a decade ago. As U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said, we are facing a “national crisis of death and serious injury.”
They are not just statistics. They are people—thousands of Katies who were dear to their loved ones.
NHTSA must act immediately on congressional mandates to put existing technology into vehicles. There are already three types of technology, he said, to eliminate drunk driving and disabled driving.
1. Driving support systems that monitor vehicle movement, such as lane departure warning and collision assist
2. Driver monitoring systems, which typically use cameras and other sensors to monitor the driver’s head and eyes
3. A passive alcohol detection system that uses sensors to determine if the driver has been drinking and prevents the vehicle from moving.
Examples of existing systems abound from Volvo, Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota, Subaru and others.
I was overjoyed to see the National Transportation Safety Board recently make a strong statement in support of investigating in-vehicle alcohol detection technology and other technologies such as driver monitoring.
As NTSB Chairman Jennifer Homendy said, “To save lives, we need to implement the technology that is here today.”
Every 45 minutes, one person dies in a drunk driving crash in the United States. And a person is injured every two minutes.
No time to lose. You think it will never happen to you—until it happens.