J. Luke Bennecke is a native Californian and a 25-year veteran civil engineer who has spent his career helping people by improving transportation systems in Southern California. Like most commuters, he longs for the day when traffic congestion is a thing of the past and highway fatalities are a distant memory. He has a BS in civil engineering from Cal Poly Pomona, an MBA from Cal State San Bernardino, a private pilot's certificate, and is a partner in the successful firm, Southstar Engineering, based in Riverside.
He has been happily married to the woman of his dreams, Tammy, for nearly three awesome decades and enjoys spending time with his grown daughters.
How did you come up with this book idea?
Driving on I-210 in Pasadena – stopped traffic. Why are we as a society still tolerating traffic congestion? Did some research - $160B lost economic productivity annually. 30k-40k people are killed every year on the highways of our great nation.
Wanted to generate awareness of these two important issues. But nobody wants to read a thesis about how to solve these problems, so I wrote a fast-paced thriller with the self-driving message at the core.
Seems like there have been several recent incidents involving self-driving cars. Is this trend going to continue?
I sure hope not! 75% of Americans don’t feel comfortable getting into a self-driving car. Feel it’s not safe. That’s a huge social hurdle to overcome. Having these accidents every few weeks is unfortunately heading us backwards. I think we need to sit down with the best minds in the country: sociologists, psychologists, philosophers, financial whizzes, engineers – civil, mechanical, electrical, computer – legal experts and hash out a strategy with goals, timelines, etc. Just like Kennedy did in the early 1960’s – put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. We can do this, but we need to do it the right way.