Message to Congress from Distracted Driving Victim Advocate Jennifer Smith

  • August 3, 2021
313 329 Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) sent the message below to Congress on August 3, 2021:

This morning, an op-ed was published in Chicago’s Daily Herald, “Build safety into infrastructure bill,” by Shaun Kildare, Senior Director of Research at Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, and Jennifer Smith, Founder of  

“The U.S. Senate is moving toward passage of a bipartisan transportation and infrastructure bill; however, current legislative language will not advance proven solutions needed to address motor vehicle crash deaths and injuries.”

Hear More from Jennifer:  “I lost my mother, Linda Doyle, in 2008 when a young driver talking on a cell phone ran a red light and broadsided her vehicle.  Comprehensive laws to deter distracted driving at the state level are critical, but Congress needs to do its part and advance vehicle safety technology that can mitigate the impact of this and other deadly behaviors behind the wheel.  Must-pass transportation and infrastructure legislation must require automatic emergency braking (AEB), which is proven to reduce crashes, and driver monitoring technology to curb dangerous driver behaviors in all new vehicles.  Driver distraction is only getting worse as our reliance on devices increases and they come equipped with more capabilities and features.  Congress must address this persistent public safety threat.”


Pictured: Jennifer’s Mother Linda Doyle

What Jennifer asks you to do:
Congress must take action now in the infrastructure/transportation bill to prevent crashes, deaths & injuries.

  • Advance requirements, performance standards and compliance dates for automatic emergency braking (AEB) in all new cars and trucks that detects and responds to vulnerable road users (VRUs).  This technology can curb crashes due to distracted, impaired and drowsy driving and speeding.
  • Require a rulemaking to mandate the installation of driver-monitoring systems to prevent distracted driving, automation complacency and other issues contributing to crashes.
  • Provide a new highway safety grant opportunity for states that ban distracted viewing and improve transparency in the grant determination process.

The loss of Jennifer’s mother and thousands like her who die in preventable crashes each year can be stopped by vehicle safety advances, and they must be included in this bill.  All families have too much to lose if meaningful action is not taken.