April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and many organizations are joining in the effort to spread knowledge about dangerous habits on the roadways. But for Philadelphia personal injury lawyer Joel Feldman, dedicating a day to teaching young drivers about the consequences of driving while distracted is just another day.
Joel Feldman, a shareholder at the prominent Pennsylvania injury law firm Anapol Weiss, founded End Distracted Driving (EndDD.org) after his daughter Casey was killed by a distracted driver in 2009.
Anapol Weiss partner and Delaware County resident Joel Feldman was the keynote speaker for the Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) at the organization’s Eastern Regional Leadership Meeting. Feldman spoke to about 75 student members about the dangers of distracted driving on Friday at the Delaware County Technical School.
Feldman understands the importance of reaching out to young people in order to start eliminating distracted driving on the roadways. “These kids are leaders in their schools and they get things done,” Feldman told the Delco Daily Times. “They can help get out the message that young kids can’t drive while distracted.”
Feldman showed two short distracted driving videos to the students, one about how his daughter’s friends were impacted by her death in a distracted driving accident in 2009. Casey Feldman was struck and killed as a pedestrian in Ocean City, NJ, when a driver reaching for a drink ran through a stop sign.
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.
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. With the increasing popularity of cell phones, texting and internet accessibility on our mobile devices, and the addiction to those devices, we are also seeing an unfortunately increase in the amount of deaths caused by drivers who cannot break from these devices while behind the wheel.
A recent report by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, based on data supplied by all 50 states, shows that the number of 16 and 17 year old drivers killed in car crashes increased significantly in the first half of 2011.
Unfortunately teenagers and young adults in their twenties are the most at risk of being killed in a car crash.
Traditionally, groups such as Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) have advocate on behalf of safe driving against the potential dangers of alcohol and drug use behind the wheel. With the increasing distractions resulting from the endless capabilities of our mobile phones and electronic devices, we are seeing an increase in organizations dedicated to raising awareness of the dangers of distracted driving among young people.
Some of the recent players in educating students against the dangers of impaired/distracted driving include NODD.org, EndDD.org, DopeItAndDrive.com, FocusDriven.org, KidsAndCars.org, and NOYS.org.
The new law says no driver shall operate a motor vehicle on a highway or traffic way in Pennsylvania while using an interactive wireless communications device to send, read or write a text-based communication while the vehicle is in motion. A person does not send, read or write a text-based communication when the person reads, selects or enters a telephone number or name in an interactive wireless communications device for the purpose of activating or deactivating a voice communication or a telephone call.
Now Pennsylvania becomes the 35th state to ban texting while in a moving motor vehicle. Texting while driving is more prevalent than driving while drunk, but just as deadly.
The new law pertains to phones, computers or other devices that can send texts, emails, or similar messages. Police are not allowed to seize the devices when they write tickets.
The penalty upon conviction is a $50 fine.
Yesterday, while stopped at a red light, instead of staring at the light impatiently waiting for it to change, I found myself watching the other lanes. I watched as the driver perpendicular to where I was stopped made a left turn in front of me, one hand on the wheel, and the other hand holding up her cell phone. After she passed, a van pulled up n the lane beside me. I glanced over and also saw that driver holding her cell phone. It makes me wonder: is distracted driving becoming the new social norm?
As a society, we’re glued to our cellular phones. At family gatherings during the holidays, I noticed that everyone had their cell phones on the table right next to them, except when they using the device to text or check e-mails. Is there something wrong with me, for leaving it in my purse, with a ring loud enough that I can hear it ring in the event of an emergency? Are we that bored with everything that doesn’t involve a touch screen, or has mobile social networking given us the neurotic compulsion to constantly know what everyone else is doing?
We let our phones distract us from life. It’s now more important to play with our mobile devices than respectfully provide attention to our relatives during annual traditions. But we shouldn’t let our lives pass us by because we’re distracted by a phone, especially when we are behind the wheel.
In November, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett passed a ban on Texting While Driving that will go into effect in March. Unfortunately, this ban applies to texting while driving only. It does not prevent drivers from talking on their cell phone while driving. The City of Philadelphia does have a weakly enforced ban on talking on a hand-held device while driving, but that ban is set to expire in March.
Texting was originally planned to be a secondary offense, meaning a fine could be given only if the driver was stopped for another, more serious offense. But thanks to some strong Safe Driving Advocates texting will be a serious offense. Under SB 314, text messaging while behind the wheel will be subject to primary enforcement, which allows law officers to stop and cite offenders for that reason alone and fine them a $50 violation. So, as a driver, if you are spotted texting while driving, you can be pulled over and fined.
Are you ready to turn off your cell phone and stop texting while driving?
Ready or not, if the National Transportation Safety Board has its way — there will be a nationwide ban on personal electric devices like cell phones.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, more than 3,000 people lost their lives in 2010 in distracted driving related accidents.
Can’t that text message wait? That’s what voicemail is for…to listen to the messages later.
The safety recommendation calls for all 50 states and D.C. to ban the non-emergency use of portable electronic devices (other than those designed to support the driving task) for all drivers. The safety recommendation also urges use of NHTSA model of high-visibility enforcement to support these bans and implement targeted communication campaigns to inform motorists of the new law and greater enforcement.
Three thousand deaths due to (avoidable) distracted driving are too many.
Why do people of all ages participate in known risky behavior behind the wheel of a motor vehicle?
According to a new November 2011 Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll, most adults (2,800 were interviewed) admitted to engaging in distracting behaviors while driving:
86% eat and/or drink
59% talk on the cell phone (not hands free)
41% fiddle with their GPS devices 37% text 36% reading a map 14% apply makeup (plus 1 in 10 comb hair)
13% surfing the Internet 7% watching videos
“Every 1 percent of drivers polled represents more than one-and-three-quarters of a million people,” said Humphrey Taylor, chairman of The Harris Poll.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has elevated their enforcement efforts as a result of almost $2.1 million in state funds dedicated to helping police combat “aggressive driving behaviors.” Those behaviors are listed as speeding, running red lights, tailgating, and now distracted driving. Across the state, roughly 320 municipal departments as well as state police will engage in the initiative from July 11 through August 28.
Distracted driving is highlighted focus in the plan, with the motif being “Distracted Drivers are Aggressive Drivers,” and are said to be frequently cited by police for other driving offenses like tailgating and speeding. Cops are especially directing efforts on highways and roads consistently noted for a large amount of accidents involving distracted driving.
The National Safety Council credits more than 1.3 million crashes per year due to distracted driving. It takes many forms, but it’s usually separated into three main categories: 1) Visual (when a driver takes his/ her eyes away from the road), 2) Manual (when a driver removes his/ her hands from the steering wheel), and 3) Mental (when a driver allows his/ her mind to drift away from the task of driving).