Painting your toe nails while driving? Putting in contact lenses? Colorado teens speak up as CO Trial Lawyers join the EndDD effort

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

By Dianne L. Anderson

 

Say what?! Yes, distracted driving comes in all shapes and as many colors as nail polish. In addition to the Casey Feldman Foundation’s philanthropy in awarding scholarships and grants to students and organizations, the Foundation is committed to ending distracted driving through its sponsored site, EndDD.org.

Casey Feldman was killed by a distracted driver in 2009 while crossing the street in a crosswalk at an intersection governed by 4-way stop signs. Joel Feldman, Casey Feldman’s father, is spreading the word nationwide and the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association  (CTLA) is just one of 13 state organizations (in addition to Canada) which has taken up the cause and has committed its members to taking the EndDD.org presentation to teens in their communities. Some 60,000 students nationwide have seen the presentation since its inception in the Spring of 2012 and Feldman estimates that some 200,000 will have seen it by the end of this year.

Feldman holds a picture of his daughter, Casey, while he discusses the dangers of distracted driving during a driver education class at Longmont High School on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013.(Greg Lindstrom/Times-Call)

The presentation was developed by Joel Feldman with the help of researchers, traffic safety experts and teen messaging experts to maximize teen engagement.  Feldman has personally given the presentation to more than 7,000 teens across the country and has given 9 presentations in Colorado since January 9, 2013, reaching some 600 Colorado teens in the Denver, Boulder and Longmont area thus far. Joel is working with the CTLA to implement the program throughout the state and is providing training to its lawyers so that the message will continue to be spread.

As a result of his efforts in Colorado, Feldman received the CTLA 2013 Consumer Protection Award.  “CTLA is proud to honor Joel with the Consumer Protection Award,” said John Sadwith, executive director at CTLA.  “Joel and his wife, Dianne, share their tragedy to get teenagers thinking and their families talking about distracted driving.  Our members want to help them succeed in saving lives.”  Stated Feldman, “It is particularly gratifying to receive this award from the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association. Our son Brett will graduate from the University of Colorado Boulder this year and wants to make Colorado his permanent home.  My wife and I love the Boulder/Denver area where we have made many new friends since working with the University on a number of projects over the last 4 years.”

The EndDD presentation is comprehensive and covers all forms of distracted driving, not just cell phone usage, which is attributed to less than 1/4 of distracted driving crashes as of 2009 data.  “We do not want teens to have a false sense of security that if they are not using their cell phone, they are driving distraction free”, said Joel.

While teens across the country have recognized cell phone usage, eating, drinking, grooming, operating a GPS, talking to others in their vehicle and viewing roadside activity, as distractions, the Colorado teens added a few additional personal examples. Said one  teen, “My cousin is thin and very flexible and she actually had her foot up on the steering wheel and was painting her toenails as she was driving!  I was terrified.” Added another, “My mom was driving me while she put her contact lenses in her eyes! I was scared to death!”

Feldman has continued to affirm that distracted driving is not just a teen problem, but is everyone’s problem. “ In all of my presentations, the vast majority of the students report  that their parents drive distracted with them in the car. I have been so impressed with the Colorado teens who I have spoken with. They are bright, engaged and really want to drive safely. I am convinced that they will avoid many driving distractions and will also work to get their moms and dads to drive safer. Their generation will change our driving culture, just as our generation changed the culture regarding seat belt usage,” said Feldman.

Related Links:

EndDD.org (End Distracted Driving – Casey Feldman Foundation sponsored site)

Colorado Trial Lawyers Association – Community Outreach: Distracted Driving Program 

“Grieving father fights distracted driving in St. Vrain discussion”,  The Times Call, Longmont, CO 1-9-2013

“Reaching out in our communities to keep our children safe: The 2012-13 EndDD,org High School Distracted Driving Awareness Program”, by Joel D. Feldman,  Colorado Trial Lawyers Association Trial Talk,  Aug/Sept 2012

United States Department of Transportration/National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA),  “Distracted Driving 2009” Traffic Safety Facts Research Note,  Sept 2010

RI to Roll Out Casey Feldman Foundation/EndDD Distracted Driving Program to Reach Every Teen in State

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

In a press conference on Wednesday, October 17th held at the State House in Providence, Rhode Island, Joel Feldman and Dianne Anderson joined trial lawyers and elected officials to announce an initiative that will result in every teen in Rhode Island seeing the Casey Feldman Foundation’s EndDD.org/60forSafety  distracted driving presentation. Rhode Island Association for Justice  President, Anthony Leone has made reaching out to the community to promote safety a  central part of his presidency. Trial lawyers across Rhode Island have committed to giving the  presentation in every high school in the state to  educate teens about distracted driving in an effort to save lives.

L: Joel Feldman, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee and Anthony Leone president of Rhode Island Association for Justice

Anthony Leone was joined by Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chaffee, Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives, Gordon Fox; Senate Judiciary Chair, Michael McCaffery, Joel Feldman and Dianne Anderson. There was incredible support for the program. Joel Feldman spoke about how he was inspired to create the program following Casey’s death caused by a distracted driver in 2009 .  Joel described the scientific nature of the presentation and the very successful pilot program in the spring of 2012 which resulted in more than 41,000 teens seeing the presentation. Joel said “all of Casey’s friends  have changed the way they drive as a result of Casey’s death. I have changed the way I drive as a result of Casey’s death-we created this program so that it would not take personal tragedies for all of us  to change the way we drive.

Joel Feldman speaking at the press conference as Governor Chafee looks on

Rhode Island is the first of a number of states’ trial lawyer organizations  to have their trial lawyers go into schools and talk with students about distracted driving. Through Joel’s tireless efforts, Kentucky, Indiana, New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania have announced similar plans and more states are signing on. It is  estimated that the program will reach more than 250,000 teens this year.

To find out about the program, participate as a speaker or arrange a presentation, send an e-mail to [email protected]. EndDD.org (End Distracted Driving) is the Casey Feldman Foundation’s sponsored site devoted to ending distracted driving.

Donate to the Casey Feldman Foundation so that we may continue with our worthy causes.
 

Related Links:

Photos from the press conference

EndDD.org – Casey Feldman Foundation’s sponsored site devoted to ending distracted driving

60 For Safety

Rhode Island Association for Justice

American Association for Justice