NBC News Features Lyons & Simmons’ Client’s Push for Road Safety Improvements

In a story that was also broadcast on NBC Nightly News, Dallas’ NBC5 senior investigative reporter, Scott Friedman, explored efforts to improve highway safety in the event of wrong-way drivers, following Lyons & Simmons, LLP’s efforts to help create change that will honor the victim of a head-on collision with a drunk driver.

Michael James “MJ” Jackson, 41, a Director of Technology with AT&T, was killed Aug. 13, 2022, in an accident with a drunk driver traveling the wrong way on the President George Bush Turnpike. Although the North Texas Tollway Authority’s wrong-way detection system had registered the movements of the drunk driver’s vehicle, she collided with MJ’s car, killing them both, before she could be intercepted.

Following the crash, his widow, Wendy, shared with her attorneys at Lyons & Simmons her two ambitions: to close down the bar the drunk driver came from and to help create change that would honor her husband.

Led by partner Stephen Higdon, the firm held the bar accountable for creating the situation that resulted in MJ’s death. Following a significant settlement in the wrongful death case, the bar – which was well known to the Garland Police Department and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission for its history of alcohol-fueled violence and overserving patrons – permanently closed.

As detailed in the NBC story, efforts are now focused on the second goal. In his memory, Wendy and MJ’s former AT&T colleagues have developed a system that would alert drivers of an approaching wrong-way driver through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, allowing drivers to exit the roadway safely. Currently, roadway alerts are focused on the wayward driver, not the approaching drivers headed into harm’s way. The group’s updated program has been pitched to TxDOT and federal officials.

“If anything good is going to come out of the tragedy, it is that it inspired the right group of people to pursue something to give everyone a fighting chance,” Higdon told NBC.


NBC Nightly News: “Technology May Offer Way to Prevent Wrong-Way Traffic Deaths”

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