On Wednesday, March 31, Casey’s parents, Dianne Anderson and Joel Feldman were part of a series of press conferences in Newark, Cherry Hill and Ocean City, New Jersey which announced a new law which will go into effect today, April 1, 2010 and was inspired in part, by Casey. The new law requires motorists to stop and remain stopped for pedestrians in marked crosswalks or who are crossing at intersections where there are no marked crosswalks. The new law will replace the former law, which used the term “yield to pedestrians”.
This is the first change in N.J. law regarding pedestrian safety in more than 50 yrs. and comes in the aftermath of some 157 pedestrian fatalities in the state in 2009. This figure, representing some 27 percent of car crash fatalities in N.J., is more than double the national average, giving N.J. the distinction of being first in the nation in pedestrian deaths.
Mr. Feldman asked those in attendance to imagine the horror of losing someone so special to them as a result of distracted driving. He also asked them to consider that they had been the driver and had, through their lack of attention, killed someone’s child. He wanted everyone to know that there are two sides to the story and that no one would want to be on either side. He asked for all to take a picture of someone they loved and could not bear to lose and to put it in their car so that they saw it every time they got in to remind them that only a second of distraction can so drastically change so many lives.
Mr. Feldman expressed his hope that as a result of the new legislation and the attention being given by virtue of Casey’s death that ” no new pedestrian death stories would be written in New Jersey.”
Wrapping up in Ocean City, a mere five blocks from the intersection where Casey’s accident took place, Mrs. Feldman (Dianne Anderson) took her turn at speaking out. She said, “I am here to put a human face on the story of the tragic consequences that can result from distracted driving and failing to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk. I wish I could say that it is my face, but it is not.” Holding up a picture of Casey for all to see, Mrs. Feldman said through tears, “This is the face. This is Casey Feldman and she is my daughter, our daughter. If, as a result of this new law we can prevent just one single tragedy so that no one else has to experience the grief that we have, then we would have accomplished something huge in the wake of Casey’s death.”
- News articles about this significant event marking a change in N.J. law inspired by Casey’s story