Marking Distracted Driving Awareness Month – IN DE AND PA, THE CASEY FELDMAN FOUNDATION’S EndDD.ORG BUILDS SUPPORT

Friday, April 19th, 2013

 

Casey's dad, Joel Feldman, speaking at the PA news conference

DE – L to R: State Police Superintendent Col. Nathaniel McQueen Jr., Joel Feldman, Governor Jack Markell, Lieutenant Governor Matthew Denn, Tim Lengkeek, President – Delaware Trial Lawyers, Lisa Donofrio, Executive Director, Delaware Trial Lawyers

With a Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General and state lawmakers joining the cause, EndDD.org reached out to drivers and their passengers in Delaware and Pennsylvania, especially teenagers, with an urgent and life-saving warning to change their driving habits and stop driving distracted.

In separate news conferences in Wilmington, DE and Harrisburg, PA last week, EndDD.org founder Joel Feldman told the story of his 21-year-old daughter Casey, who was killed by a distracted driver. Feldman and his wife, Dianne Anderson, created The Casey Feldman Foundation and EndDD.org, a project of the foundation, to honor Casey’s life and save others.

“While I can’t bring Casey back, I can tell her story so that teens and adults will drive safer,” said Feldman, who worked with traffic safety, mental health and other experts to develop the EndDD.org interactive presentation that will be seen by more than 200,000 teens in 35 states this year.

In Wilmington, Feldman and EndDD.org supporters were joined by Governor Jack Markell, Lt. Governor Matt Denn, and State Police Superintendent Colonel Nathaniel McQueen, Jr. at a news conference hosted by the Delaware Trial Lawyers Association. That day, the state launched its second wave of cellphone enforcement, issuing tickets to drivers seen talking or texting on a cell phone. The Delaware Office of Highway Safety reported 1,718 crashes in 2012 due to distracted driving, one was fatal. Governor Markell made it clear that his office is committed to seeing that every teen in Delaware participate in the EndDD presentation.

DE – L: Governor Jack Markell, Joel Feldman and Lt. Governor Matt Denn sporting EndDD wristbands

“I was amazed by how many Delaware trial lawyers attended the news conference and stayed for a training session afterwards so that they could go out in their own communities and educate young drivers about the dangers of distracted driving,” said Joel Feldman.

In Harrisburg, Feldman joined State Attorney General Kathleen Kane, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, State Sen. Rob Teplitz, D-Dauphin County, Rep. Brandon Neuman, D-Washington and the Pennsylvania Association of Justice (PAJ). Sen. Teplitz and Rep. Neuman sponsored resolutions, passed unanimously in both houses, making April, “Distracted Driving Awareness Month.”

“Distracted driving takes a terrible toll on our families, communities and safety,” said Sen. Neuman. “It is my hope that educating everyone about the importance of safe driving habits will begin to change driving habits that caused 387,000 injuries and 3,331 deaths in 2011.”

“It is crucial to public safety that we continue to remind motorists to keep both eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel,” said Rep. Teplitz. “Just one moment of distraction can change the lives of not only a driver, but passengers, surrounding drivers and pedestrians, as well as their loved ones. No text message is worth risking lives.”

PA – L to R: Rep. Brandon Neuman , Mike Davey (PAJ), Joel Feldman, Scott Cooper (PAJ Pres.) and State Sen. Rob Teplitz

Rep. Teplitz praised Feldman and his family for “their leadership on this critical issue.”

“After he lost his daughter, Joel Feldman changed his own driving habits and committed himself to educating others nationwide about the dangers of distracted driving, especially teens,” Rep. Teplitz said.

“The (EndDD.org) presentation is heart-wrenching, powerful, and illuminating,” Sen. Neuman said. “It will challenge every mind and leave no heart untouched.”

Attorney General Kathleen Kane said, “It is critical that everyone, but especially teenagers who are just forming good driving habits that will last a lifetime, understands that driving while distracted is terrible dangerous…I am glad that the EndDD program is being show in high schools across Pennsylvania, and I’m proud to help make April “End Distracted Driving Month” in Pennsylvania.”

PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane speaking at the press conference

PAJ President Scott Cooper and Mike Davey, President of the News Lawyers Division of the PAJ, have committed their members to carry the EndDD program throughout the state.

Read more about the EndDD.org news conferences:

Pennsylvania:

Lawmakers, Victim’s Father Warn of Distracted Driving Dangers (Also view full video coverage of entire PA news conference here)

Father uses daughter’s story to tell dangers of distracted driving

Lawmakers, Victim’s Father Warn of Distracted Driving Dangers 

Father tries to prevent distracted driving (FOX News video)

PA Legislators recognize April as ‘Distracted Driving Awareness’ month  (News 21 video)

PA Auditor General Eugene DePasquale speaking at the news conference

 

 

 Delaware:

Father who lost daughter to distracted motorist leads effort

 

 

 

Distracted Driving Awareness Month guest contributor Joel Feldman: Celebrating my daughter’s 25th birthday

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Article by Joel Feldman, guest contributor, reprinted from the U.S. Secretary of Transportation (US.DOT), Ray Lahood’s official blog, Fast Lane:

Pink balloons were released to mark Casey's 25th birthday

Pink balloons were released to mark Casey’s 25th birthday

Apr 10, 2013 – This past weekend, on April 6, we celebrated my daughter Casey’s 25th birthday. But Casey wasn’t there. She was killed in 2009 by a distracted driver, a 58-year-old man behind the wheel of a van. He took his eyes off the road for just a few seconds. Pink was Casey’s favorite color, so we released pink balloons in her memory. As the balloons drifted upwards, I thought of her smile, the last time I heard her say “daddy,” how caring, compassionate, and loving she was, and her incredible zest for life. I also thought of her last moments, how she suffered, how afraid she must have been, and the last words she spoke before she died: “I want my mom.”

Following Casey’s death, our family established the Casey Feldman Foundation and created “End Distracted Driving.” We are keeping Casey’s memory alive through EndDD.org by raising awareness about distracted driving and changing driver behaviors – especially among young people. We want to spare other families from the suffering we have endured.

Two years ago, Casey became one of Secretary LaHood’s “Faces of Distracted Driving.” I created the video to share the story of Casey’s life and death with the world, and I was proud to see it become the first public submission in the “Faces” series.

Distracted Driving Awareness Month guest contributor Joel Feldman

Distracted Driving Awareness Month guest contributor Joel Feldman

Today, that same video is the centerpiece of EndDD.org’s Student Awareness Initiative. We worked with experts to develop this interactive presentation with the goal of changing driving attitudes and behaviors of teens and their parents. By the end of 2013, nearly 200,000 people – mostly teenagers – in more than 40 states will have participated in the EndDD.org program.

Nearly all the teens we work with tell me that their parents drive distracted with them in the car, and their friends’ parents do the same when they’re carpooling. I know I drove distracted with my children in the car before Casey was killed. That changed with her death.

I’m encouraged because what drivers consider acceptable behavior behind the wheel is starting to change, especially because of young people. They are “getting it” – much as an earlier generation learned the importance of using seat belts and convinced their parents to buckle up. Young people are working with moms and dads to adopt safe driving rules for the entire family. Young people are helping to change our entire driving culture.

People often tell me how brave I am to speak publicly about my daughter. But I don’t feel very brave. I just feel that I have to do this, so Casey’s life and death will make a difference for others.

It took Casey’s death for me to change the way I drive. But I hope it won’t take personal tragedies for others to get the message. I am optimistic we all can “get it”, even as we celebrate Casey’s birthday without her.

 

Casey’s Friend, Brooke Burdge, Shares Her Story with Local NJ Teens in Distracted Driving Presentation

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

The following is a guest blog by Brooke Burdge, a friend of Casey’s during her time at Fordham University.

 

Brooke Burdge with students from Monmouth Regional High School who are involved in efforts to help promote safe driving within their own school community.

On March 11, I had the opportunity to speak with close to 1,000 students and faculty at Monmouth Regional High School in Tinton Falls, New Jersey on the topic of distracted driving. My presentation was part of  the EndDD.org End Distracted Driving Student Awareness Initiative, which since its inception in 2012, has reached over 60,000 high school students.

At the start of my presentation, I gave a brief overview of EndDD’s mission, as well as some background on the inspiration for these presentations. I described how in the summer of 2009, an attorney and father named Joel Feldman from Pennsylvania got the news that his 21-year-old daughter, Casey, was struck and killed by a distracted driver while she was a pedestrian in a crosswalk on her way to her summer job in Ocean City, New Jersey. I told them how he then established the Casey Feldman Foundation in memory of his daughter and created EndDD.org  and the distracted driving presentation to educate others about the dangers of distracted driving.

Brooke (L) and Casey in a photo taken during their time together at Fordham University

Then, I let the group know a little more about me. Like them, I grew up in Monmouth County, NJ.  After graduating from a nearby high school in 2006, I went on to Fordham University, where I made a great friend named Casey.  This is the moment where I showed them a slide with photos of Casey and myself throughout our time together, as well as two Facebook wall posts from Casey. In this moment, the audience realized my direct connection to this cause and the root of my passion for this issue.

Later in the presentation, I showed the students the “Faces of Distracted Driving” video created for the U.S. Department of Transportation, in which a few of Casey’s friends and I talk about the preventable nature of Casey’s tragedy.  I explained to the students that you tend to see these types of videos and think, “Something like this couldn’t happen to me or my friends,” but those are all my good friends on that screen, and it’s very real to each of us.

Brooke (L) and Casey working for The Observer at the Fordham reunion in June 2008

Throughout the presentation, I reminded the group of three main points.  First, this is not just a teen problem. Adults are also guilty. I shared that before July 2009, I was also guilty of distracted driving. Secondly, I let them know that this is a choice. I wasn’t there to tell them what they should or should not be doing. I was there to give them information, and share a few stories, that they can take into consideration when making their own choices behind the wheel. And third, I reminded that that yes, these stories are sad, but they’re preventable. I wanted them to understand that although what happened to Casey and others they would hear about is extremely upsetting, it didn’t have to happen. I wanted everyone in the room to walk away feeling like they were in a position to help stop future tragedies like these from taking place.

Before the presentation, over 400 students had completed questionnaires about distracted driving. I covered the forms of distracted driving they had mentioned most frequently in their surveys—taking eyes off the road, texting, talking on the phone. But, I also wanted them to think more about the other kinds of distracted driving that may not come to mind as frequently, but are just as dangerous, such as eating, changing music, applying makeup, programing a GPS, and reaching for something.

Brooke Burdge speaking to students at Monmouth Regional High School in NJ. Photo Credit: Samantha Primich

We discussed the importance of speaking up for your own safety when a passenger in an adult’s or a friend’s car—how you can offer to take your driver’s phone and cover any calls or texts for them while their driving.  Through various stories about the numerous consequences of distracted driving, I hoped to drive home the point that this is sad, but preventable. Just a few seconds can change everything, and in the end, are those few seconds of distraction really worth the consequences?

I want to thank those faculty and students who helped organize this assembly.  Additionally, I want to thank every student and faculty member in that room for their attention.  A handful of students have reached out to me on social media since the assembly, and I am so happy that this presentation helped them think about distracted driving in a new light.

NOTE:  View photos from the presentation here. View Brooke Burdge and Casey’s other friends  in the Faces of Distracted Driving video below speaking about Casey and how they changed they driving habits after Casey’s death. View U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood’s blog article introducing the video.

U.S. Department of Transportation Commends Joel Feldman’s Efforts to End Distracted Driving

Friday, April 27th, 2012

By Dianne L. Anderson

Ray LaHood, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, dedicated a recent blog article to Joel Feldman’s (Casey’s father) efforts to end distracted driving through amassing some 800 attorneys and judges to speak to students across the country and in Canada. The effort was through EndDD.org, a website sponsored by the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation and dedicated to ending distracted driving. The presentations coincided with  National Distracted Driving Awareness Month –  April, 2012.

Casey Feldman in U.S. DOT public service video

The following are excerpts from the US DOT website blog:

In February 2011, the father of a young woman who was killed by a distracted driver sent DOT a video tribute to his daughter. Joel Feldman’s powerful video about his daughter Casey was the first outside submission to become part of our Faces of Distracted Driving. And Casey’s story has proven to be one of our most effective videos, capturing the attention of people around the world. …

Since then, Joel Feldman has not rested in his pursuit of that change. The organization he started, End Distracted Driving, has been a strong advocate in our fight to get drivers to keep their eyes on the road, their hands on the wheel, and their full attention on driving safely.

And, in honor of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, EndDD.org has launched the End Distracted Driving Student Awareness Initiative. This campaign seeks to educate students and other drivers throughout North America about the dangers of distracted driving. Perhaps more importantly, the Student Awareness Initiative gives drivers simple steps to keep them–and others–safe. …

End Distracted Driving has an ambitious goal for its April initiative: to reach more than 100,000 young drivers.

Within days of EndDD announcing the effort, more than 800 attorneys from across the United States and Canada had signed up to give Student Awareness Initiative presentations through high schools and civic groups. Joel Feldman says that Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) have been particularly open to hosting these presentations….

So I’m thankful that End Distracted Driving’s more than 800 volunteers are working hard throughout National Distracted Driving Awareness Month to spread the important safety message that cell phones and driving don’t mix.

Read the full U.S. DOT blog article here.

Related Links:

U.S. DOT  April 18th blog article

Casey Feldman, U.S. DOT Faces of Distracted Driving Video and Feb. 22, 2011 blog article

EndDD.org (End Distracted Driving)

 National End Distracted Driving Month

Delco, Montco and the Commonwealth of PA Establish Distracted Driving Awareness Month at the Urging of the Casey Feldman Foundation

 

Joel Feldman Participates in Distracted Driving Program at Lehigh Valley Hospital

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Joel and Casey in Ft. Lauderdale in Jan. 2009 on a family vacation

Joel Feldman, Casey’s father, participated in a distracted driving program with emergency room physicians at Lehigh Valley Hospital on March 15, 2011. Joel talked about his family’s loss and showed the three minute video made about Casey for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Faces of Distracted Driving” website.

The two hour presentation by three emergency room physicians and hospital staff was part of a distracted driving program launched in October by the Lehigh Valley Health Network and has been taken to over a dozen Lehigh Valley area high schools. According to the physicians, Gavin Barr, Robert Barraco and Bryan Kane,  15% of driving is distracted driving and 80% of traffic accidents occur within three seconds of some kind of distraction.

Joe Feldman stated, “ With the reception that I received after the presentation from parents and teenagers and the hundreds of emails that have been pouring in since the video was released, it is apparent that the Casey video has had a positive impact on the way that people are driving and that lives are being saved. In fact, I just now received an email from a woman who said that she never  thought about the fact that even eating in her car could be a distraction, and admitted that each and every day she eats in her car while driving her son to school. This mother said simply that since watching the video, I will never eat while driving again.”

Watch the TV news clipRead the article from the Lehigh Valley newspapers. View the 3 minute U.S. DOT video here.

“Faces of Distracted Driving” Video Shown in Driver’s Ed Class

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Casey and her brother, Brett before Brett's senior prom in 2008

The video produced by Casey’s father, Joel Feldman, which is being featured on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s website to bring awareness to distracted driving, as well as EndDD.org, is now being shown to a new generation of drivers. A driver’s education class in Reading, PA will view the video in order to highlight the now all too common problem of distracted driving.

After the video was passed along amongst friends and colleagues, a high school driver’s ed teacher viewed it, and began showing it to his classes. Additionally, a local bank in Reading will sponsor “Distracted Driving” signs for the high school parking lot that the school has chosen to display after watching the video.

“There’s nothing I like better to do than to talk about Casey,” Joel Feldman said, in an interview to NBC40. “There’s nothing I like better than to do something where people will remember Casey and this seems like a great way to remember Casey and have Casey’s life and death make a difference.

“Given that I couldn’t bring Casey back, the next best thing is to do some good in her memory.”

View the U.S. DOT’s video featuring Casey’s story, as well as the subsequent media coverage, including televsion news clips compiled on the Casey Feldman Memories site.

Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation Launches Site to End Distracted Driving

Monday, February 28th, 2011

In an effort to increase awareness for distracted driving, the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation has launched a website, EndDD.org. – “In honor of all families who have been injured by or lost a loved one to distracted driving, EndDD will passionately advocate, educate and support efforts to end distracted driving.”

The site offers visitors the chance to view the video produced by Casey’s father Joel, which features Casey’s friends and family telling her story. The video links to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s own website for distracted driving, which also features others stories and “Faces of Distracted Driving.” To join us in ending distracted driving, start by clicking here.

Joel Feldman Interviewed about Distracted Driving

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Casey and her father, Joel Feldman on Christmas day 2008

Yesterday, Fox News Philadelphia reported on distracted driving, and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s efforts to reduce this epidemic. The video produced by the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation was aired, along with an interview with Casey’s father, Joel Feldman. To view the segment, click here.

To view more stories about distracted driving and to join the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation in inspiring the community to end distracted driving, please visit enddd.org.

To view all of the television news videos including the FOX News interview as well as print and web coverage compiled on the Casey Feldman Memories site, click here.

Casey Feldman is Remembered as a “Face of Distracted Driving”

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

As reported on the blog two days ago, the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation submitted a video for distracted driving awareness to the U.S. Department of Transportation, and we are happy to report that the video is live on their website, and Casey is one of the Faces of Distracted Driving. The video, produced by Casey’s dad, Joel Feldman, is one in a series which highlights distracted driving tragedies with the hope that future deaths will be prevented.

Originally published on the U.S. Department of Transportation Faces of Distracted Driving website, this video includes a number of Casey’s friends and family. Please also read U.S. Secretary of Transporation Ray LaHood’s blog post on Casey’s story and featuring Casey’s father, Joel Feldman.

Casey Feldman Foundation Submits Distracted Driving Video to Dept. of Transportation

Monday, February 21st, 2011

The U.S. Department of Transportation has been educating the public on the dangers of distracted driving through internally produced videos which tell the stories of those who have lost their lives through this senseless act. The Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation has submitted a video to tell Casey’s story, produced by her father, Joel Feldman. The video would be the first to include the various distractions while driving, other than cell phone use.

Casey’s friends and family are interviewed in the video, and tell not only Casey’s story, but their own, and how they have changed the way they drive since Casey’s tragic accident on July 17, 2009. Stay tuned to view the video and find out how Casey’s story will be a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Faces of Distracted Driving campaign.