The ‘Smart Driver’ project has been a huge effort, and at the end of the day, I think it will make a lot of people a lot safer.
Kathy grew up in Detroit but moved to North Carolina shortly after meeting and marrying her husband Randy in 1976. They have one daughter who is an optometrist and also lives in NC. Kathy worked in the local school system as a teacher and administrator in the central office before taking early retirement after 25 years. She now works part time as an educational consultant for a publishing company. Kathy earned her undergraduate degree in English and Education and has two Masters degrees in Middle School Social Foundations, and Traffic and Safety Education. Her husband Randy worked for years in marketing, and he is also a professional bass player and singer. Randy will join Kathy on the cruise.
One day in 2007 shortly after retiring, Kathy picked up an AARP magazine and read an article that changed her life and has likely saved many others. She read about a course for older drivers where they learned how to compensate for decreased reaction time, diminishing vision, and a broad range of other safety concerns. Kathy joined the program and became an instructor, then she started training instructors how to conduct the course, and now she is the district coordinator responsible for the entire venture in her area. That means she schedules classes, makes sure instructors are available and properly trained, arranges for places to hold the instruction, and deals with every detail that comes along.
As Kathy gained more and more recognition for her skills and dedication to the program, she took on more and more tasks. In fact, she was asked to co-lead a team to develop a comprehensive drivers' safety program for seniors through a grant provided by Toyota and AARP. This was a big deal, and it included working with many focus groups, drafting new instructional manuals, establishing trainer accreditation, producing educational videos, and preparing a nationwide launch of the program scheduled to start in early 2014. Kathy worked 30 hours and more every week with her co-leader, attended and critiqued preliminary classes, and had many hundreds of drivers go through the program to beta test it before launch. The program is called "Smart Driver," and it makes the roadways safer for all. Says Kathy: "I wanted to do something worthwhile after I retired, and with my experience as a teacher and my knowledge of driver safety, this turned out to be a perfect fit."