Press Release (edited): SOUTHFIELD, MI– A former head of merchandising of the once-great Tweeter consumer electronics chain, Bernie Sapienza, has been named new Executive Director of Vision Zero, replacing Jim Warren.
Vision Zero is bringing together competing suppliers and retailers across the country to raise awareness for advanced driver safety products. The program, founded by Jeff Varick, CEO of Brandmotion – a leading supplier of automotive aftermarket safety and convenience products- is in its inaugural year and gaining traction among all sectors of the mobile electronics community.
Vision Zero operates programs in cities all over the country and in Europe, creating initiatives to lower traffic deaths. Under their direction, cities are passing strict anti-texting laws, lowering speed limits and designing safer intersections. The Vision Zero Automotive Network (VZAN) programs are the 12-volt aftermarket’s contribution to this life saving movement, promoting the installation of advanced driver safety products in the 250 million cars already on the road.
A 2015 study by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that 10,000 of the approximate 35,000 traffic deaths a year could be prevented if every car on the road had the same safety technology that is available in today’s new cars. They identified seven Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) safety technologies including 360 vision, blind spot warning, backup cameras, collision avoidance, night vision, and adaptive headlights (only the latter is not available from 12-volt shops).
“It’s a great cause and a fabulous opportunity,” said Sapienza, noting that six of the seven safety technologies identified by BCG are offered in the aftermarket. “The reality is that public awareness is not very high. Most people simply don’t know that they can add these technologies to their existing cars. With industry unity and cooperation, we can create awareness, drive traffic to retailers and really accelerate this category. This would help the entire 12-volt aftermarket, and most importantly, it would help save lives.”
Sapienza will focus primarily on soliciting financial contributions for Vision Zero Automotive which is a non-profit organization. Says Sapienza, “Jim did a great job getting the program off the ground and we already have a good amount of support for the initiative. The opportunity to broaden the scope of the program and get deeper involvement is very real.” Sapienza is tapping manufacturers and leading retailers such as Best Buy, Amazon, Crutchfield, Car Toys, Tint World, and many others for their participation and support.
Vision Zero Automotive will operate a new website that includes a retail locator so that consumers can quickly find a nearby 12-Volt aftermarket retailer. Eventually, Sapienza hopes to see a Vision Zero Automotive logo on many car safety products offered by the aftermarket.
Says Sapienza, “What ultimately will be in it for retailers and manufacturers will be heightened public awareness of the category, increased foot traffic, and the satisfaction of knowing they are all involved in saving lives.”
Adds former Executive Director Warren, who is now the Executive Director of the Elite Distributor Alliance (EDA), “Bernie is a great choice for Vision Zero. His experience, passion and intimate knowledge of both mobile electronics manufacturers and retailers will speed the growth of this important initiative.”
Dealers wishing to participate can contact Sapienza at [email protected]