General Motors’ vice president of global purchasing, Steve Kiefer, found himself in a parent’s worst nightmare when he was informed his son had passed away. Mitchel Kiefer died at the age of 18 after a motorist crashed into the rear of his car, which sent him into oncoming traffic on Interstate 96. An oncoming vehicle then collided with Michel Kiefer’s car and caused his death.
“Mitchel was driven across a median that was just 52 feet wide. And a median that had no cable barrier and no safety barrier,” said Kiefer.
The Kiefer Foundation and Michigan announced $600,000 combined to pay for a new barrier on the stretch of I-96 that became fatal for Mitchel. The new barrier design is proven to be more effective than a traditional concrete barrier and features cables to hold the car like a net if it’s struck; they’re also less expensive than concrete designs, according to The Detroit Free Press.
The Michigan Department of Transportation began deploying the new barriers in 2008 and has since installed 380 miles of highways with them. Michigan plans to spend another $4.5 million to continue their deployment.
Ultimately, Mitchel’s wreck was caused by a distracted driver who was on her cell phone when she rear ended the teenager. The Kiefer Foundation has raised nearly $1 million to spread awareness about the dangers distracted driving entails. In 2016, 40,200 motorists were killed in vehicle crashes and the rise in traffic deaths has been largely attributed to distracted driving.
In 2016, 40,200 motorists were killed in vehicle crashes and the rise in traffic deaths has been largely attributed to distracted driving.