Leverage!

Have you ever noticed that there is a glow-in-the-dark lever in your trunk? Probably not, unless you’ve been locked inside.  Most recent model cars now have added this feature for safety.

But the story behind how this lever became such a standard feature in the auto world is both fascinating and terrifying.

On Halloween night 1995, Janette Fennell and her husband Greig were returning to their home when, upon opening their garage, they came upon two armed men that quickly rushed upon their car and forced Janette and her husband into the trunk of their vehicle.

Naturally they both feared that their abductors would take their lives. But even more terrifying was the thought of what might happen to their infant son, still in his car seat.

As the car continued to drive Janette reached for whatever she could grab, tearing at the fabric and wires trying to possibly signal other vehicles with the break lights. But nothing worked.

Finally, the vehicle stopped and the men approached the rear of the vehicle and through the sealed trunk asked what the pin number was for the couple’s debit cards. They threatened to come back and kill them if the pin they provided was wrong.

1999-00-00-Fennells-Trunk

Janette continued to struggle with the wires and eventually found the latch for the trunk release. At last her and her husband were free.  They rushed to the back door of their car to get their baby, but found that he wasn’t in the vehicle.

Both, fearing the worst, were able to get in touch with authorities and reported the event. They were later informed that a police officer found their little boy, still in his car seat, right outside their home.  The abductors have never been found.

This traumatic event ignited a passion in Janette to lobby automakers to include a glow in the dark release. Today it is standard on most vehicles, but Janette didn’t stop there.  She is also largely responsible for child safe power windows and backup cameras.

 

References

 

https://storycorps.org/podcast/storycorps-445/

 

http://www.kidsandcars.org/history.html

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