HGTV & Beyond Productions teamed up to create $50K Three Ways, a new hit home renovation show where the brilliant interior designer Tiffany Brooks helps renovation-ready homeowners decide how to best spend their hard-earned $50,000. By getting to the heart of what really matters, Tiffany turns overwhelming tasks into a transformation journey that's worth every penny.
Bob Maraist of World View Productions had the good fortune of being brought on for most of the back end episodes, producing along side the talented show-runner Nina Joseph, and the rest of the Chicago based production crew.
Tiffany has been a designer of HGTV Smart Home since 2016. She's recently teamed up with David Bromstad in HGTV's Rock the Block. She was also the winner of HGTV Star season 8 and owns her own residential design firm right here in Grayslake, IL, where Maraist has lived and worked for 25 years.
You can learn more about Tiffany, a very down to earth, and super creative individual on the HGVTV website: www.hgtv.com/shows/50k-three-ways
Watch $50K Three Ways Mondays 8ET, 7CTon HGTV or Stream on Discovery+
John Cleese, yes that one from Monty Pythons Flying Circus, Fawlty Towers, and more, has been a very public proponent of HUMOR, especially as it pertains to opening up ones creativity and problem solving in any setting. In his latest tweet, "Laughing at the seriousness of life is the best way to get through it," he talks specifically about the difference between solemnity and seriousness: twitter.com/JohnCleese/status/1356305459569958913
We at World View, and those we collaborate with, strive to bring organic fun into every production by surrounding ourselves with people who take their jobs seriously, but not themselves. The results are always better than any one person can imagine, when our minds are clear of perceived inefficiencies, ego attacks, or grand standing. Though we are human and therefore imperfect, we continue to learn and grow from every opportunity. During the production of our own Jeff's Homemade Game Show, despite the occasional chaos that is production, our incredible team would always come back to center, bringing levity into any situation at any time. That kept our host loose, our creative team sharp, and most importantly, our real families laughing and comfortable having us in their home:
"So thankful to be a part of the show, my family had so much fun!"
"We loved every minute of the experience. Jeff, Bob, Bob and crew, we truly thank you 💙"
We'd like to know your thoughts on this topic. If you'd like to have fun on our team, or have a project you'd enjoy brainstorming about, please reach out. We'll be sure to be serious about bringing humor to the process.
Pictured: The Santos Family and Jeff Rogers, host of Jeff's Homemade Game Show, streaming at https://www.byutv.org/jeffsgameshow
Photo by Stephan Mazurek
Santa has a sleigh, but Jeff has a truck, Pat the Lucky prize truck, on Jeff’s Homemade Game Show, A World View Productions, production. Here's fun little Behind the scenes moment when the Santos matriarch asks about Pat.
Watch the show, play the games, share the fun. Streaming now at https://www.byutv.org/jeffsgameshow HOLIDAY FUN AT HOME!!
"Over 300,000 HIV patients died before the powers that be were forced into action.”
DR. Jim Yong Kim, Co-Founder of Partners in Health
300,000! A horrifically coincidental number that we have overtaken with COVID related deaths in the US. These are directly relatable scenarios as many Americans don’t believe any measures are required to curb this pandemic, believing somehow everything will work itself out. Eventually we will win the fight against COVID, but only because of the forethought of those who have experienced pandemics before, and committed their lives to the cause. These people are, “Bending the Arc,” especially when it comes to providing healthcare to the underserved.
I do not pretend to understand the moral universe, the arc is long...But what I see is I am sure it bends towards justice.
-Theadore Parker, philosopher
Do you know how Dr. Faucci learned to set up community based testing, quarantining, and localize the supply of PPE, and soon vaccinations? Because years ago he met Dr. Paul Farmer (shown left with a Hatian patient and child), Dr. Kim, Yverose Jean & Ophelia dahl, the subjects of an amazing documentary full of hope, now on Netflix, called, “Bending the Arc.” Thirty years ago, as much of the world was being ravaged by horrific diseases like HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, these remarkable young people in the medical field, barely out of their teens, rejected the typical lives in medicine. They were determined to deliver to the Haitians, who soon became their friends, the same world-class level of medical care they would expect for their own families. They faced enormous obstacles. World health “experts” argued against their “every-life-is-worth-saving” approach. World Bank policies coerced poor nations to exchange health and education spending for loans. They persevered. Building hospitals and providing expensive life-saving treatments to human beings staring at death. The healthcare system has a history of ignoring the health and welfare of those without many resources.
“Optimism is a moral choice, but ignoring or refusing to care for all is criminal,” says Dr. Kim in the film. “With Paul Farmer and others, I learned how to take social justice and turn it into real work on the ground,” says Kim in the film. “We realized that this could be something like a movement.” But, “if you’re cynical about the work it would take to provide healthcare for all, then you will probably live out your very low ambitions.” Dr. Farmer adds, “The key is to have a pessimism of the intellect, but an optimism of the will.”
In another part of the world, around that same time, Jim Merkel, for different reasons, was at a crossroads. After witnessing the consequences of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, “In 1989 I turned in my top secret clearance (as an engineer working for a government contractor), stopped selling military electronics and simplified (my life) until my consumption was in the ballpark of average world GDP – around $5,000. And to slow population growth, I delayed fatherhood into my 50’s and then stopped at one child.” This is an excerpt from a chapter Jim contributed to in an amazing book, called, wait for it….“Bending the Arc,” by SUNY publications, but has no relation to the film.
Merkel continues, “Unlike Snowden, Assange and Manning, I lacked the courage to expose what I knew, not wanting to rot in a prison cell, hole up in an embassy or live on the run. I did however commit my life to peace, human rights and the environment and attempt daily to forgo the privileges that one-world-superpower status offer its citizens.”
“World peace seems unlikely to be fostered or brokered by the US while we maintain one-world-superpower status and use that status absorbed in self-interest. Our role must be to secure the well being of the marginalized and future generations and this will require a serious spiritual maturation. I know from first hand experiences that good people do horrible things. I did. This spiritual awakening appears to be happening and grows with encouragement.”
Over those 30 years, Merkel has become a leader and author in this area, who like those in the above film, is educating others about the simplicity of taking positive steps. The author of Radical Simplicity, Merkel is in post production of a new film of hope. “My latest project is the making of a documentary film with a working title Saving Walden’s World, (Originally titled The Hundred-Year Plan) that optimistically lays out the essentials for diffusing the population bomb, easing climate change and averting the sixth great extinction. It tells the quietly dramatic story of educated and empowered women around the world who choose small families while creatively living with small ecological footprints. These conditions played out over one hundred years could return a healthy balance between humans and nature.”
Spoiler alert: In Bending the Arc, the film, we see the team confront the typical healthcare system, ignoring a problem while the most affected are the least protected. We meet those emaciated by disease and the ills of the underserved , struggling to survive, while healthcare officials and suppliers refuse to consider alternative treatment modalities over profits. Dr Farmer & the team realize that only thru educating and empowering the community to distribute healthcare services among their own, could a pandemic be beaten. But will these ideas be accepted by those affected? Can they get the results at the micro level, that will convince the world health community it can be done on a larger scale? Will that knowledge create a community based preventative healthcare model, lifting everyone past the point of surviving to a level of thriving?
“[Dr Farmer, Dr Kim and team, their] quiet outrage over the widely-held assumption that it’s futile to treat the global poor drives this story, which is as much about the triumph of a philosophy as of medicine.” – The Boston Globe
You have to see the results for yourself. You can’t help but get drawn in by the personal stories of people on all sides struggling with a global issue. All the work that went into forming the protocol for pandemic response has informed how countries have responded to the COVID pandemic. Those that paid attention, like Kerala India, have less than 1/20 the number of cases and deaths as the US. Kerala put people and process ahead of profit and ego. Kerala is one of those countries visited by Merkel 30 years ago, and again recently for his film.
Merkel states, “The similarity to how the US blew it with COVID because of the unwillingness to admit we have an issue, or because of who it’s affecting, the under served, is obvious. Saving Walden’s World is about recognizing those issues that create an underserved population in the first place, and showing how communities around the world, that typically do NOT have the resources, are able to combat these problems BEFORE they get out of hand.”
“Part of the solution to the problem is for my son Walden, now 6-years old, and his generation, to learn 21st century survival skills from places not as mesmerized by the spell of consumerism. Seeing the low-impact, day-to-day realities in imperfect, but quite sustainable societies kindles the imagination as to what is possible.”
And a second spoiler alert. Jim Merkel eventually became Dartmouth College’s Sustainability Coordinator and Dr. Jim Yong Kim became Dartmouth’s president, and, ready for this… the president of the World Bank.
And for his and his teams work, Dr. Farmer was recently the recipient of the 2020 Berggruen Prize. The $1 million prize, which is awarded annually to people who “have profoundly shaped human self-understanding and advancement in a rapidly changing world,” went to the doctor in recognition of his leadership related to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Dr. Farmer’s call to improve public health systems is a matter not only of science but also of politics, economics and ethics,” Amy Gutmann, a contest juror and the president of the University of Pennsylvania, said in a news release. “In this crisis, like the ones that preceded it, our knowledge far outpaces our will to put effective solutions into action.”
“The arc of the moral universe bends towards justice. Together we bend it faster.”
Merkel's future thinking documentary is in the later stages of post production, and is looking for additional funding & distribution. World View Productions, Ltd & Bob Maraist helped film one of the segments, and produce. Others behind this insightful doc include two time academy award winner Debra Shaffer, recent academy award winner Julia Reichert (American Factory), and more. To learn more about Jim Merkel:
Resources for this article:
Bending the Arc - a film currently on Netflix
PiH - Partners in Health - a global health group with origins at Harvard University founded by Dr Paul Farmer & Dr. Jim Yong Kim
The National Institute of Health
Bending the Arc - Striving for Peace and Justice in the Age of Endless War
a book (by different contributors)
2020 has exposed failures in economic strategies, but there's hope. World View has been helping to film and produce Jim Merkel's documentary, "Saving Walden's World," which addresses many of the issues seen in a recent NY Times article, about Mariana Mazzacuto, a University College London economics professor, whose ideas and view point has achieved the kind of celebrity status that is uncommon for academics."
"In February, British GQ named her (Mazzacuto) one of the 50 most influential people in Britain, alongside David Beckham and Phoebe Waller-Bridge. The Financial Times described one of her panel discussions as “electrifying.” She’s got the ears of politicians and chief executives around the world, from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the U.S. and President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, to Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Pope Francis, who all turn to her for advice or lean on her work for ideas.” NY Times writer, Alisha Haridasani Gupta continues, "Ostensibly, her mission is to reimagine capitalism and boost the state-backed public sector, but her work has nonetheless resonated not just with leftist thinkers but also in fiscally conservative, free market circles where even the slightest whiff of socialism would usually set off alarms. The fiercely pro-free-market Financial Times, for example, noted that the argument laid out in one of Dr. Mazzucato’s books, “The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs Private Sector Myths,” is basically right.”
"The core tenets of her life’s work, which she lays out in several books, are (1) the ways we currently define economic growth are far too narrow and (2) that many of the world’s greatest achievements — the moon landing or the invention of the internet, for example — stem from government investment, not the private sector, as is widely assumed.
“Indeed, every technology that makes the iPhone smart and not stupid owes its funding to both basic and applied research funded by the State,” she writes in The Entrepreneurial State. She doesn’t mean to suggest that Steve Jobs wasn’t critical to Apple’s success, but “ignoring the ‘public’ side of that story will prevent future Apples from being born.”
So what is the connection with Merkel's documentary? Merkel has been observing many of these public initiatives first hand for over 30 years. He's recently returned to those countries to see the effects of policies like empowering women, free education, universal healthcare, environmental initiatives and more, which he shares in the documentary. "Saving Walden’s World," refers to Merkel's young son Walden, who's generation will inherit the results of our decisions today. Interestingly enough, one of those locations Merkel visited both in 1993 & again in 2018, is Kerala India, whose commitments have paid off.
In the Times article, Dr. Mazzucato states, "I am fascinated by the successes of states like Kerala in the Covid crisis, where long-term state investment in health was supported by a rapid lockdown, aggressive contact tracing and extensive mental health services, which have reached over 11.5 million people. And all this coordinated by an impressive female leader — K. K. Shailaja, the minister of health and social welfare." Merkel points out that still the question arises, if the US had the Kerala rate, might 230,000 Americans still be alive? Many Kerala businesses stayed open, but community spread was curtailed because the general public trusted K.K. Shailaja, a.k.a. the COVID slayer’s advice, donning a mask, while maintaining physical distance.
Merkel's future thinking documentary is in the later stages of post production, and is looking for additional funding & distribution. World View Productions Bob Maraist helped film one of the segments, and is helping to produce. Others behind this insightful doc include two time academy award winner Debra Shaffer, recent academy award winner Julia Reichert (American Factory), and more.
To read the rest of the NY Times article, written by Alisha Haridasani Gupta, click here.
To learn more about Jim Merkel (pictured below), go to https://www.facebook.com/100yearplan/
Jim Merkel films a women's event in Kerala. Photo by David Wright
Congrats to our host of Jeff's Homemade Game Show, Jeff Rogers, for winning the award for Excellence in the category of talent/Host, from Videographer.
World View is happy to share that Jeff's Homemade Game Show has picked up some awards during its run. "Hermes Creative awards has given the show the Platinum Award for TV Programs, it's highest honor. Hermes is an international competition for creative professionals who honors the messengers and creators of the information revolution."
Stream Jeff's Homemade Game Show at: https://www.byutv.org/jeffsgameshow
Guess we're doing something right, because after a well received premiere, we have seen continued growth in viewership as episodes of Jeff's Homemade Game Show have aired. One of the indicators has been the shows trailer, which has topped 1 million views, in just 2 months, making it the #2 video on BYUtv's Youtube channel for the last five years! This feels pretty good when you consider the family friendly programming space. Viewers are chiming in too:
-"It makes us happy to see happy families playing games together."
-"Highlight of our week! Great show!!"
-"Super fun family night!!"
-"Loving every episode!!!"
-"We love this show! So refreshing to have something we can all watch together."
50 million+ can access BYUTV on cable, or watch on-demand using any of the FREE BYUtv App platforms including: iOS and Android apps, Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, Xbox One and more. Or watch online through the BYUtv Website, http://www.byutv.org.
Jeff’s Homemade Game Show, Tuesdays, 8pm CST on BYUTV and most cable services, or stream free anytime at https://www.byutv.org/jeffsgameshow.
We at World View Productions thrive on niche media. Throughout the life of the business we have wanted to focus on human interest, social issue, entertainment that inspires action. The media landscape continues to lend itself to that, and Fortune Magazine recently backed that up with an article by Todd Wasserman, "TV adapts to The Age of a Million Niches."
But there's a cautionary tale. Wasserman writes, "There are already TV networks that cater to African-Americans and Hispanic consumers. Some over-the-top services provide thousands of channels, including The Mower Repair Channel on Roku. If SurvivorNet (A new network for Cancer survivors) is the future of media, that means there will be programming for every stage of life and for every happenstance. That will likely drive us all both further apart and closer together."
That's why World View continues to emphasize programming that inspires action. Our latest production, Jeff's Homemade Game Show is a perfect example. While on the surface it's a fast and fun game show, it's built on the foundation of helping family members engage with each other outside the digital space. By showing families how fun it can be to play together, and subtly providing parents with a script to get started, families are using JHGS to get closer together. We were also very intentional about connecting with families of all walks of life. Though the show is a competition, we show families that thrive in the shows format of creating games where families must collaborate together vs compete against each other. We're hoping the success of the show leads to many more seasons of fun that bring amazing families together.
You can read the full article here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/toddwasserman/2020/06/15/tv-adapts-to-the-age-of-a-million-niches/#46c2425e35d0www.forbes.com/sites/toddwasserman/2020/06/15/tv-adapts-to-the-age-of-a-million-niches/#46c2425e35d0
May 25, 2020 / 10:17 AM CDT:
Chicago's WGN Morning News invited comedian Jeff Rogers, host of Jeff's Homemade Game show, to join the the morning program. News anchor Ana Belaval started with the big question, did we come up with the idea because of COVID? The answer is no, that the idea was developed a couple of years ago as we saw the opportunity to help families engage with each other outside of the digital space. First they can have fun together watching the show, then play the games. Jeff added that the concept was a perfect fit fo him because he had such a large family that his dad use to make the daily chores a game.
Anchor Dan Ponce asked Jeff to show the audience a few of the games they might see on the show. Jeff's wife and daughter joined in the fun playing 3 games, the third testing the anchors on their memory skills. You'll see, it wasn't so easy.
The interview concluded with Anna being so excited about the concept she said, "when this (COVID) is over, I want you to facilitate this at my house, can you come over and play at with my kids? ...I love it!" Dan added, "These are fantastic!"
Watch the 5 minute interview at:
‘Homemade Games,’ ‘The Great’ very entertaining
Rick's Reviews by: RICK BENTLEY
Posted: May 15, 2020 / 11:31 AM PDT / Updated: May 15, 2020 / 11:32 AM PDTBAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – In my search to find entertainment you can watch while stuck at home, I like it when I discover a program that is not only entertaining while you watch but can spark more fun after the show is over.
Jeff Rogers set out to create a game show and ended up developing a program that can provide relief for those at home who have become bored with their board games. Rogers is the host and co-creator of BYUtv’s latest family friendly show “Jeff’s Homemade Game Show,” a competition series played completely at the homes of the contestants.
The games began May 12 on BYUtv. Don’t worry if you do not have the cable channel, the BYUtv app is free to download.
The 10-episode season uses common on-site household objects, locations and activities for each contest specifically designed for the family hosting the show. Family members can win cash and prizes by participating in homegrown challenges such as stacking cans from their kitchen into a pyramid, returning items that have been removed from their living room to the correct locations, catapulting cereal into a milk-filled bowl, collecting as much loose change as possible and guessing the expiration date of a condiment in their refrigerator.
Jeff Rogers said he played a lot of games growing up in Mount Prospect with 10 siblings — but those were more like chores disguised as games.
The 51-year-old comedian said his dad encouraged the kids to race to clean their bedrooms and make their beds. Now Rogers hosts his own competition show where he visits Chicago-area families and uses their household items for games such as catapulting cereal into a milk-filled bowl or stacking canned goods into a pyramid. The contestants can win hundreds of dollars. If they lose, they get junk from Rogers’ Northwest Side garage.
“Jeff’s Homemade Game Show” is scheduled to premiere at 8 p.m. Tuesday on BYUtv, a family entertainment network. Rogers hopes the series, which will be available live and on-demand for free on BYUtv’s app, inspires families to play along.
Ten local families are featured on the first season. Rogers said there were several hundred applicants. Families living within 100 miles of Chicago were selected.
“It’s been great to be able to bring this show here and really generate it here, produce it here, edit it here with all Chicago talent and crew,” said Rogers....Read the rest of the article here.
Check out Jeff's Homemade Game Show Tuesday nights, 8pm CT on BYUTV, or stream anytime at www.byutv.org/jeffsgameshow
Perfect Time for this Game Show in Homes
The suburban trio created and filmed their TV game show before anyone had heard of COVID-19, wore masks or stayed at home, but their timing couldn't be more serendipitous. "Jeff's Homemade Game Show" features comedian and Mount Prospect native Jeff Rogers hosting family members competing in wacky challenges for the chance to win money, prizes or a piece of junk from "Jeff's garage." All without leaving their homes.
Co-creators Bob Maraist, 57, of Grayslake, whose work on documentaries such as "American High" have earned him four Emmy Awards, and longtime collaborator Bob Kopach, 56, of Elmhurst, who conceived the idea for the show, say it couldn't be more relevant in an era when many families are stuck at home. And Rogers, 51, has been prepping for his game show duties since his childhood as the 10th of 11 children born to Robert and Margaret Rogers.
"My dad made a game out of everything,....
Read the full article here
Jeff Rogers, host of our show, Jeff's Homemade Game Show, had a great time with the anchors of KTLA's afternoon show. When asked how Jeff got involved with the show, Jeff answered, "when Bob Kopach & Bob Maraist came to me with the idea of bringing a game show to peoples homes, and using their stuff, it was a perfect fit. My parents use to get us 9 kids to do chores around the house, by making it a game. They'd say, 'whoever cleans up their room first gets a prize!' Well, at first I'd think he's just trying to con us, but all it took was for one of the kids to start cleaning their room faster, and suddenly, the game was on!" As everyone laughed, anchor Glen Walker replied, "You guys were getting snookered!" Jeff agreed, but everyone acknowledged that it was a lot more fun way to go about connecting with kids.
It must be very trying to report on the current events day after day, with little good news, and the serious nature of how it effects people. As the segment wrapped up, it just seemed the anchors were very thankful for the opportunity to laugh about something that could bring joy to others.
Jeff’s Homemade Game Show, Premiering May 12, 8pm CST on BYUTV. https://www.byutv.org/jeffsgameshow
Here's a link to a BTS interview with our host Jeff Rogers:
Comedian Jeff Rogers knows how to turn family time into game time: he shows up at a family's home and hosts a game show right in their living room! The family competes in a series of crazy and hilarious challenges with items from around the house. If they win, they get some amazing prizes. If they lose, they get junk from Jeff's garage. Jeff's Homemade Game Show is fast, funny, and all about family—staying home has never been this much fun! Premieres May 12 at 9 pm ET | 6 pm PT.
We wanted you to know, we’re playing it safe, but we’re open for business. We have been working safely & remotely during the COVID crisis. We have guidelines in place to make sure all facets of a production can be completed in a safe and timely manner.
Thanks to the veterans on our team, we had our eye on this issue before any mandates. While in progress, we made the safe and necessary adjustments to work towards delivering the episodes of World Views latest production, Jeff’s Homemade Game Show. A BYUTV executive expressed their gratitude by saying in a recent Zoom call, "We're so impressed with how World View adjusted to this crisis. This show could not be more relevant to families than it is right now. Thank you for delivering on time." Delivered without COVID delay, this show is ready to air May 12, 8pm CT on BYUTV.
Even as business’s open back up, the need to take precautions will linger far into the future. We plan to continue to take the necessary steps so that our team, your team, and the subjects we work with have a safe and gratifying experience.
Be well, stay safe, and let’s make the most of this life changing experience.
When we produced this last year, we had no idea how relevant it would be today, because this show does so much more than just entertain. Airing May 12, 8pm CT, Jeff's Homemade Game Show challenges families to accomplish a common goal, playing random, active games that can be created at home using everyday household items. It's a series for everyone from 4 to 94 that shows the audience new ideas of how to have fun together. Watching the show inspires people to get up and play the games. There is no more relevant time to take a break from the serious issues that surround us, then now.
So as people either continue to social distance at home, or even as the restrictions begin to lift, everyone can use fun and productive ways to engage, collaborate, and come together outside of the digital space. Jeff's Homemade Game Show is the inspiration to do just that!
Jeff’s Homemade Game Show, Premiering May 12, 8pm CST on BYUTV. https://www.byutv.org/jeffsgameshow#
CHICAGO – April 23, 2020 A new TV game show, Jeff’s Homemade Game Show, is currently being produced in Chicago that promotes and celebrates family time – parents and kids working together, playing together and making decisions together. The show will premiere on BYUtv on May 12 at 8 p.m. CST.
Jeff’s Homemade Game Show turns a visit to a family’s home into a fun instant TV game show as the host, Second City alumnus Jeff Rogers, conducts various fun challenges using the family’s own household objects, locations and activities. Money and prizes are awarded for successfully completing a challenge. Items from Jeff’s actual garage are awarded to the family if they happen to come up short. Family members are asked to play games like Toilet Paper Relay where they pull toilet paper through the house without it breaking, Pillow tower, and Floor of Lava.
Jeff’s Homemade Game Show reinforces studies that show family time helps build self esteem in children, strengthens family bonds, develops positive behaviors, creates happy memories and helps parents and children reconnect. Most recently, the program received a Mom’s Choice Award, which recognizes the best in family-friendly media, products and services.
The first 10 episodes were filmed in the Chicago and Northwest, Indiana area. The show was developed by the creative and executive production team of Chicago natives Bob Kopach, Bob Maraist, and Jeff Rogers.
For more about the show go to: https://www.byutv.org/jeffsgameshow
Rogers, a Second City alum and award-winning Chicago actor, has been seen on Chicago PD, Chicago Fire and Empire. Maraist’s Emmy Award winning, Chicago based World View Productions, who is producing the show, has worked with major networks like A&E, FX, PBS, & HBO. Kopach is a Columbia College grad and has worked for World View in its development department for the past 8 years.
The other evening, my wife and I were returning from dropping our youngest daughter off for her first week of college. The last leg of the bittersweet journey took us on a busy four lane road, interspersed with mall entrance intersections. While I was behind the wheel, my wife contemplated the upcoming projects us empty-nesters had. Suddenly. an oncoming vehicle careened over the median and slammed into the vehicle right in front of us. We came to a stop, I jumped out to see if I could help, as others did, while my wife called 911.
Thankfully, no one was killed. The victim of the car in front was taken away on a stretcher with leg and chest injuries, while the driver of the oncoming vehicle got into the ambulance under her own power, clearly shaken. The cause was unclear. When I got to the victim she was shouting to me, “Did you see that?! That car came out of no where and just hit me! It just jumped the median and hit me!” Something of a freak scenario that could have ended tragically.
In the last couple of years alone, tragedy has struck numerous times on the roads right here in our own community. A teen driving with her father as passenger were both killed in an intersection collision. Then my daughter’s close friend lost her mother in a horrific drunk driver collision. Both families dealt a life changing blow that no one should ever have to endure. Statistics and data about serious accidents can sometimes seem abstract, while drivers feel invincible, making riskier decisions. Don’t think for a second those decisions don’t matter.
"We are in the midst of a public health crisis and it isn't Zika," says Deborah Hersman, former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board and now president and CEO of the National Safety Council. She breaks those numbers down, saying it's about 100 people killed on our roads a day, "the equivalent of two regional jets crashing, every day. That would be 14 plane crashes a week," she says. "If we had 14 plane crashes a week, our hair would be on fire and no one would set foot on an airplane," Hersman adds. "Why do we accept the fatalities that occur on our roadways?”
You may have noticed I have purposely avoided the word, “accident.” That’s because "Ninety-four percent of crashes can be tied back to a human choice or error. Ninety-four percent!" says Mark Rosekind, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. After our near collision, my wife and I pondered our own mortality, feeling lucky that just seconds made the difference from us being the victims. But it wasn’t just luck.
The reason we weren’t in the crash was also the result of daily safe driving practices I have had the good fortune to learn and help develop with some of the best in fleet safety. I was intentionally looking far enough up the road, so I saw what was happening as it unfolded. I was following the car in front of me at a safe distance, so I had room to slow and consider my options as the offending vehicle approached. We drove away, not by luck, but by making smart choices so we were not one of the statistics.
There is no one solution to this crisis. Like anything in life, it’s a matter of percentages. Much attention is given to traffic incidents caused by distracted driving. However, the National Highway Traffic Association report fewer driver-distraction deaths in 2016 than 2015, while overall fatalities are about the same. Drowsy driving deaths are also down, while drunk driving and unbelted deaths are up.
Though autonomous cars are coming, they are still a few years away, even according to the major manufacturers that are leading the way. Hyundai feels autonomous cars won’t be able to handle urban environments until 2030, for example. That means that driver behavior is still the main reason for collisions today and the foreseeable future.
Today, technology in vehicles is playing a role in lowering the number and severity of incidents. From airbags and anti-lock brakes, to the more current in-car safety systems such as backing camera’s and lane departure alarms. Vehicle manufacturers, the insurance industry, connectivity and tech companies, are providing safety related choices when the public buys a vehicle.
I’ll continue to share stories and insights about the choices you have now as they relate to the auto, tech, insurance, and driver safety industry. There is no silver bullet, and until technology turns all travel into mass transit thru GPS guided robotics, you will have to take control of your safety at every turn.
About the author: For 25 years, Bob Maraist has kept a finger on the pulse of the fleet and consumer driving industry, especially as it relates to safety. With experts in the field, his company, World View Productions, has created successful driver training materials helping fortune 500 companies see more than a 70% decrease in incidents in their first year of a safety campaign.
I have recently returned from Cuba where I was helping to film the first leg of a sustainability documentary. With two time Oscar winner, Deborah Shaffer, & Author Jim Merkel, we saw a side of Cuba that the American media chooses not to cover. We ventured to learn what Cuban's, especially the women, had to share from their decades of experience in family planning, life with scant fossil fuels, free education and healthcare to all, and small scale organic food systems. These are among the people and the ingredients that make Cuba among the worlds most sustainable populations in the world (http://www.footprintnetwork.org/ecological_footprint_nations/ecological_per_capita.html).
Throughout the next few months we'll share some of our experience, and let you meet the incredible people who so warmly opened their lives and homes to us, so stay tuned for more entries.
Below is a picture from the Casimiro farm, a place I call a Permaculture Paradise!
On the left is the Casimiro women, middle is director Deborah Shaffer, local sound person Susana Zamirino, Cuban film commision member Ronnie, and myself. Photo by our Cuban fixer Pedro Martin.
Happy New Year to all! We hope that 2014 had plenty of warm moments. I say warm, because it is about 5 degrees outside right now!
I am reminded by our good friends at "Free the Slaves" that January is national "Trafficking awareness month." We were fortunate enough to do some powerful filming for them a while back, so I would like to return the favor by forwarding their message of hope in this area of need. You can visit their web site (https://www.freetheslaves.net/) for great insights of how to help. Here is an excerpt:
Here are simple steps you can take to make January a month of action:
I started in this industry with an interest in sharing the life changing stories of those who otherwise could not, so that I and others may learn and grow.