A homeowner in Waukesha for 20 years, Steve is president of the Waukesha Dog Parks Organization and enjoys motorcycling, fishing and staying on top of politics.
On behalf of the Bukosky Family, I'd like to thank all of those that have been supportive during this difficult time. I'll not rehash that which is so widely available on the Internet about the case. Instead, I'd like to offer some thoughts that I have that have not been discussed much.
SUV's have been demonized by people. For my discussion any truck chassis based vehicle will be an SUV. This includes your standard half ton pick-up truck. Many people drive these large vehicles because they believe them to be safer than small cars. Indeed, that is true. Jenn's car was a Honda Accord. It has a good safety rating, but these tests are for when the vehicle hits another object. Mark Benson's vehicle was a Cadillac Escalade which is a rebadged Chevy Suburban. It and the Ford Excursion are the two largest vehicles you can buy before stepping into commercial sized trucks.
As is so often the case, the behemoth Escalade was carrying a single passenger. The tiny Honda, five people. Mark Benson's behemoth, by it's mass and height demolished all of the Honda from the rear bumper to the instrument panel. Mark Benson's air bags deployed and he was able to exit his SUV and walk around. Nobody in the Honda could.
Could this accident have been prevented? Yes, and I'm not talking about Mark Benson having failed to obey Judge Dreyfus, sparing lives and agony of the victims and his own incarceration and the hardship to those that he loved and who loved him. I'm talking about technology being advertised this very day.
You've probably seen television ads for the Mercedes E class. It has sensors that will stop the car if the driver doesn't brake in time to avoid a collision. There are other cars with sensors that judge the distance from your vehicle to the one in front of you. These will control the cruise control so you don't creep up or fall behind the car in front of you. They can also be used for proximity alerts. Mark Benson was quite possibly distracted by a hands-free cell phone call that he was making to the pharmacy where he was picking up medication. Indeed his lawyer said this case is as much about cell phone use as it is driving under the influence.
These technologies are too late to save Jenn and the kids. But every day there are accidents caused by sober yet distracted people thinking that they can play with their cell phone and still control a potentially deadly mass of machinery, their car or SUV. Just last week a driver who was texting collided with the vehicle in front of him.
If we as a society are not willing to control our culture, that is, better control the use of alcohol, drugs and cell phones, then we must use technology to control our machines and protect us from ourselves.