Former GM international operations boss, Steve Kiefer, says he is making progress in his mission to end distracting driving.
Early in 2022, Kiefer left GM to focus full time on the Kiefer Foundation, launched by the former GM executive in 2016 to honor his son, Mitchel. Mitchel was killed shortly after graduating from high school in a car accident caused by a distracted driver. Now, Kiefer says that his foundation is making progress towards its goal of reducing and eventually eliminating distracted driving. Per a report from Automotive News, the foundation has helped to push distracted driving law reform across the U.S., with involvement in new “hands free” legislation efforts in nine states.
Michigan State Representative Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham) has worked towards distracting driving law reform since taking office in 2019, and with help from representatives Mike Mueller (R-Linden) and Joe Bellino (R-Monroe) introduced three bills aimed at banning distracted driving. The bills passed the House last January, but were blocked from going to the floor for a vote in the Senate.
Nevertheless, Kiefer says he’s confident that the new distracted driving reform will pass early this year.
“Hopefully we’ll have a big celebration by spring next year,” he told Automotive News. “But more importantly, we’ll have these laws in place and deaths will drop next summer because of these laws. I’m sure of it.”
Kiefer has also drawn support from celebrities like pro football player Tom Brady and actor Mark Wahlberg, both of whom worked to promote the Kiefer Foundation’s “Just Drive” campaign. The foundation has also seen support from Lear Corp, Magna International, American Axle and Manufacturing Inc., and GM.
Back in 2017, the Kiefer Foundation worked with the state of Michigan to construct a new $600,000 battier on I-96 where Mitchel was killed. The foundation has raised nearly $2 million since launch, with funds used for awareness campaigns and education efforts across the U.S.