Just earlier than midnight on Oct. 6, 2017, my daughter, Katie Snyder Evans, was killed when a rushing drunken driver coming from the other way misplaced management, hit the middle median, launched into the air and got here down on Katie’s car crushing her.
Katie was 37 years previous. Just seven weeks earlier than her demise, she had given delivery to twin daughters who had been born prematurely and have been nonetheless within the hospital the night time Katie died. In truth, Katie had been on her means dwelling from the hospital when she was killed.
A query gnawed at me for a 12 months after Katie’s demise: With all the security tech and self-driving automotive techniques on the market, why cannot know-how cease drunken drivers? That drunken driver mustn’t have been capable of steal Katie from us: her husband, Jacob; her new child twin daughters, Hannah and Sarah; her 4 younger sons, Spencer, Travis, Nathaniel and Gideon; and me and my spouse, Claudia.
So, I requested automotive specialists. Through my place as govt director of the Shingo Institute at Utah State University’s Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, I do know a lot of senior executives within the auto trade as a result of these firms use the Shingo Model to drive excellence of their organizations. They confirmed that know-how exists that would cease a drunken particular person from driving.
My daughter would nonetheless be alive if that know-how had been put in, because it ought to have been years in the past. But it actually took an act of Congress final 12 months to require that know-how in automobiles.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act included language directing NHTSA to provoke a rule-making course of and set the ultimate normal inside three years for passive impaired driving security gear on all new autos. Automakers then have two to 3 years to implement the security normal. I labored carefully with Mothers Against Drunk Driving to assist make that new regulation a actuality as a result of no father or mother ought to need to lose a toddler to a drunken driver.
Now, as we watch for NHTSA’s rule-making course of, I’m profoundly saddened to see that crashes just like the one which took our Katie from us have elevated.
While America’s seven consecutive quarters of site visitors fatality will increase appeared to reverse course within the second quarter of final 12 months, in keeping with new knowledge from NHTSA, the massive image stays unacceptable. Traffic fatalities are nonetheless dramatically greater than they have been a decade in the past. As U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has acknowledged, we face “a national crisis of fatalities and serious injuries.”
Those aren’t simply statistics. They’re folks — 1000’s of Katies who have been valuable to their family members.
NHTSA should act instantly on Congress’ mandate to get current applied sciences into automobiles. Three sorts of know-how exist already to remove drunken and impaired driving:
1. Driving help techniques that monitor the car motion with techniques similar to lane departure warning and collision help
2. Driver monitoring techniques that monitor the motive force’s head and eyes, usually utilizing a digicam or different sensors
3. Passive alcohol detection techniques that use sensors to find out whether or not a driver is drunk after which forestall the car from transferring.
Examples of current techniques abound from Volvo, Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota, Subaru and others.
I used to be elated to see the National Transportation Safety Board’s current sturdy assertion of help for in-vehicle alcohol-detection know-how and exploration of different applied sciences similar to driver monitoring.
As NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy stated, “we need to implement the technologies that we have right here, right now to save lives.”
Every 45 minutes within the U.S., an individual dies in a drunken driving crash. And each 2 minutes an individual is injured.
There’s no time to lose. You assume it is by no means going to occur to you — till it does.