The United States Department of Transportation as declared April National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Over 800 Trial Lawyers throughout the United States and Canada are doing their part to spread awareness of this deadly issue.
These lawyers are donating their time and resources to take part in the End Distracted Driving (EndDD.org) Student Awareness Initiative, and will reach approximately 50,000 before the close of the school year. Because Distracted Driving Awareness Month falls in close proximity to prom season, a number of schools are requesting presentations in May and June, making the awareness initiative an even bigger success.
Teenagers have been the target of the Distracted Driving Awareness Initiative because they are the most at risk group to being injured or killed in an automobile accident. According to a study by AAA, 80% of teenagers admit to texting while driving. These young adults grew up with hand held technology and multi-tasking and many believe that their multi-tasking capabilities are no when driving than they are performing any given task.
While these presentations are aimed at changing the students behavior, The Distracted Driving Awareness is not limited the presentation to self awareness only. Distracted Driving is not a teen problem, it is an “everyone problem”. Students are being encouraged to change not only their behavior, but to encourage their parents, many of which drive distracted according to the students, to improve their behavior as well.
These lawyers and their mission to raise awareness not only reached North American high school students, but also the attention of the local media. Reporters through out the country have been doing human interest stories on these presentations, creating a ripple effect that is bringing distracted driving awareness to the masses.
EndDD.org founder and car accident lawyer Joel Feldman spoke about spoke about his mission with CBS News on April 2nd. A day later, he was featured on, via satellite, First Coast Connect, a Jacksonville Florida, NPR Program. Joel was joined by a Florida area attorney who joined his coalition, Leslie Goller, of Terrell Hogan. A few days later, Goller’s Partner, Wayne Hogan, was interviewed by Fox 30 & First Coast News, calling other attorneys to get involved.
Ohio Attorney, Larry Slagle, made front page news is Masillon. One of the first presenters, Larry spoke to roughly 350 students at Tuslaw High School on March 30th.
A press release on Digital Journal brought awareness to Buffalo NY readers announcing Gelber & O’Connell, LLC plans to speak to students in Western New York during the last two weeks of April.
Aside from students and media, the trial lawyers were also successful in bringing awareness to local legislators.
Joel Feldman’s colleague at Anapol Weiss, Michael Monheit was influential in Montgomery County’s Declaration of Distracted Driving Awareness Week April 8th -14th) Michael was joined by the Montgomery County Commissioner, Josh Shapiro, at a presentation to Abington High school Students on April 11th. During that week, six other Anapol Weiss Attorneys; Associates, Nicolas Seminoff, Adrianne Walvoord, Stephen Pokiniewski, and Partners, Miriam Barish, Sol Weiss, and Joel Feldman gave presentations at Abington, reaching out to a total of 1200 students in one school during one week.
In addition to Montgomery County’s Proclamation, The Pennsylvania General Assembly passed a resolution officially recognizing April 2012 as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in Pennsylvania.
Highland Park Illinois passed a similar Proclamation. Illinois Attorney, Kevin Apter, was present at the Council Meeting declaring April 2012 Distracted Driving Awareness Month in this hands-free city.
Gelber & O’Connell was also able to obtain a proclamation from the Town of Amherst declaring April as “End Distracted Driving Month.”
From the students, to the media, to the legislators, these attorneys have no doubt been successful in raising awareness of distracted driving this past month. Though the mission has been accomplished, we must not forget the bigger picture and the reason behind raising awareness, getting people to change their driving behaviors. The more people recognize distracted driving as a problem, the more likely they may think twice, about their driving behaviors, ultimately making roads safer for us all.