64. The Driver

This show usually focuses on the victims of traffic violence, and that is where the focus belongs. But in this episode, we hear the first-person story of a woman, Shane Snowdon, who killed someone with her car. 

It happened more than 20 years ago, when she hit an 18-year-old man named Guillermo Venancio on a scenic road in California, ending his life in an instant. It’s a difficult story to hear. But we think it can help us understand the reality of a transportation system built around cars and driving. When people have to use a machine that’s as deadly as a loaded gun to do everything — go to work, take the kids to baseball practice, buy a quart of milk — it isn’t that hard for an ordinary person to become a killer. 

On some level, we all know this. But when we hear about a traffic crash, we think, that’s something that only happens to other drivers. We don’t like to believe that we could be responsible for taking another human being’s life. It’s a worst-case scenario we keep hidden from ourselves. Shane wants people to know that it can happen to them. That’s why she reached out and asked to tell her story on The War on Cars.

This episode was produced by Sarah Goodyear, with editing and sound design by Ali Lemer. The music is from Blue Dot Sessions.

Learn about how the people at Families for Safe Streets are working to fight traffic violence.

You can find the full transcript of this episode here.