Monica Zech – Safe Driving Speaker 

A native of San Diegan, Monica first began her career as a news reporter in 1974, but in 1984 she became San Diego’s first female air traffic reporter & first Television traffic reporter for the Automobile Club of Southern California, later for Metro Networks. During her 18 years as a traffic reporter, she most enjoyed her work “off the air” in providing her safe driving talks in the community.

As Monica’s passion for “safety” grew, in 2001, she decided to leave the world of broadcasting to become the Public Information Officer and Fire Safety Specialist (Inspector/Investigator) for an East County Fire Department.  In July of 2005, she became City’s Public Information Officer until her retirement in August of 2019.

Since 1984 Monica continues to deliver her dynamic Safe Driving presentations. Now retired, she is devoted to her life-saving talks “fill time.” Due to the pandemic, Monica is now delivering virtual presentations!

“Safe Driving” is Monica’s passion & mission!  She enjoys her ongoing safety research working with first responders (police, firefighters, paramedics, and 9-1-1 dispatchers), the medical examiner’s office, and various safety organizations, including MADD. 

Due to this research, Monica quickly saw the crucial need to add safety education to her on-air traffic reports and provide driving safety lectures in the community.  As a result, the demand for her talks spread to schools & colleges, but major companies, and to military bases locally and nationally!

Monica also loves speaking to driver education classes, traffic schools, and parenting classes.  She enjoys helping parents to be better safety role models for their children. Keep in mind that parents are the number one role models for safety, especially behind the wheel. How you drive will reflect on how your children will drive.

“Stay Alert – Stay Alive” lectures: Monica’s presentation is called “Stay Alert-Stay Alive!” Not only are her talks informative and entertaining, but powerful and thought-provoking, changing the way you view traffic.  Monica speaks from first-hand experience, giving an emergency agency perspective and a “personal” perspective due to traffic incidents that have impacted her life.

Monica addresses the top safety issues in her presentations;  the dangers of distracted driving – such as texting, aggressive driving, road rage. Also, driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs, motorcycle safety, and pedestrian safety.  Monica enjoys speaking to all age groups.

Personal Experience – A Victim’s Perspective: Monica covers driving safety and provides a “victim’s perspective” – a side most people don’t see. Sadly, on June 5th, 1992, Monica’s message took on an even deeper meaning when her own father was struck and killed by a drunk driver as her father was legally crossing a street near their family home. He was only 63 years of age.

But lightning struck twice for Monica and her family.  In February of 2005, Monica’s then 25-year-old daughter was hit and injured by a 17-year-old unlicensed D.U.I. driver.   Due to her daughters’ alertness and quick reaction, she was able to avoid a direct side impact to her driver’s side.  A year later, her daughter became a paramedic; this eventually led to her career as a Physician’s Assistant. Yes, safety runs in the family!

Before her daughter’s collision, on August 29, 2003, Monica was the victim of a STOP sign runner – a collision that two surgeons said should have paralyzed her. Injuries from that collision resulted in neck and double knee surgeries.   Monica shares her personal experiences but is quick to note that she continues to speak on behalf of “all” injured and killed in preventable crashes.

San Diego’s “first” Television Air Traffic Reporter:   During Monica’s early years as an Air Traffic Reporter, it was quite an honor and accomplishment for her broadcast career to have the rare opportunity of delivering traffic and news coverage for two Television stations and ten radio stations during morning and afternoon commutes.

Award-Winning:  In that first year of reporting from the air, Monica was the first airborne reporter on the scene for the San Ysidro McDonalds massacre – July 18, 1984. She reported non-stop, for an hour and 45 minutes, until SWAT Team snipers fired the last shot that ended the siege.  She received a Golden Mike and two San Diego Press Club awards for her reporting.  This was followed by numerous safety awards for her safe driving presentations. (See her awards section on this website.)

Local Recognition: Monica’s dedication to safety has been recognized by others in the community.  In 1995, Monica was asked by then San Diego Mayor Susan Golding to be a member of the Mayor’s Transportation Demand Appeals Board.

Research: In 1998, Monica’s work was recognized nationally when she received a call from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in Washington D.C. to help as a consultant, researcher, and educator on a committee to address the growing problem of “aggressive driving & road rage.”  Working with San Diego State University, Monica began educating her audiences on ways to reduce the stress of driving – and how to deal with “road rage.”  She also addressed the problem of “Red Light Running” and the essential need for “RED Light Photo Enforcement cameras.”  Recognizing her efforts, the National Campaign Against Red Light Running, in Washington D.C., named Monica their San Diego spokesperson in 2001.

For more than 37 years (since 1984), Monica has been delivering her life-saving messages!

Contact:  If you would like to arrange for an inspiring safe driving presentation to enhance your current safety programs, or have additional questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Monica directly at (619) 219-9030, or by email: [email protected]

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