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.

 

2012 Student Distracted Driving Awareness Campaign

Monday, May 21st, 2012

After Casey’s death, one of her colleagues on her college newspaper told us that Casey taught her that everyone has a unique story and if you listened carefully enough you would hear that story. Telling one’s story and having someone really listen and hear that story can be powerful and can change both the story teller and the listener.

The story of the EndDD.org/60forsafety 2012 Student Awareness Initiative is that a Philadelphia trial lawyer’s daughter was killed by  a distracted driver and more than 800 trial lawyers volunteered to speak out in her memory about distracted driving from Hawaii and California to Maine, Texas to North Dakota, Florida to Washington State and many of the provinces of Canada. When our first year’s initiative concludes, Casey’s story and the story of the senseless and needless loss of life from distracted driving, will have been told to more than 40,000 students. By telling Casey’s story and the stories of others killed by distracted driving, we have saved many lives. (more…)

Casey’s College Friend Speaks at Her High School Alma Mater on Distracted Driving

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Brooke Burdge speaking at her high school

By Brooke Burdge

On Friday, April 27, I had the opportunity to visit my alma mater, Communications High School, in Wall Twp., N.J. to speak to over 150 juniors and seniors on the topic of distracted driving. My presentation was one of over a thousand that took place in April as part of End Distracted Driving’s (EndDD.org) campaign for National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

It was a great experience to be able to help educate young drivers on the various issues associated with distracted driving. At the same time, it was challenging, since I knew the reason I was standing at the front of the room was because of my close connection to this topic– that I lost one of my closest college friends, Casey Feldman, as a result of distracted driving.

I opened up the presentations by introducing the campaign and explaining how big of a difference this program is making in just its first year.  I then gave the background for the presentation, and described Joel Feldman as the inspiration and told Casey’s story.  It was at this point that I showed a few pictures of Casey and I together, and let the students know my connection to this topic.

Brooke (L) and Casey

I was impressed by how focused and engaged the students of CHS were. They actively participated, answering my questions and sharing their stories.  CHS is a “magnet school”– a career academy that draws selected students from across the county.  Many students have long drives to school and to visit their friends from around the county.  I could see this was a topic that resonated with the students.

After my talks, a few students approached me and thanked me for speaking to them.  Some expressed their condolences for losing Casey.  Two girls even told me how they created their own PSA on distracted driving and recently submitted it into a contest.

The school principal graciously invited me back next year to speak again.  I hope to make this April presentation a yearly tradition. By continuing to share Casey’s story and raise awareness of distracted driving, we can help prevent tragedies from happening to others.

Related Links:

EndDD.org (End Distracted Driving)

Communications High School

National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

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

End Distracted Driving reaches out with safety message (U.S.DOT’s blog article with photos and video of Casey)

Casey Feldman Memories

Casey Feldman Network

 

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

 

Casey Feldman Distracted Driving Public Service Video Featured by the US Dept. of Defense

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Casey Feldman in U.S. DOT public service video

The United States Department of Defense (U.S. DOD) is the latest governmental agency to recognize the toll taken by distracted driving. In its June 18th blog the need to pay attention and stop multi-tasking was stated and as an example of the tragic consequences that can occur.

In featuring Casey Feldman’s video, the article reads in part, Internally, the department’s agencies are already working together to share knowledge and promote a greater understanding of the issue, and identify additional strategies to end distracted driving.  The consequences can be dangerous and even fatal, like the case of 21-year-old Casey Feldman.

Click here to read the U.S. DOD article and view the video.

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.