A Philadelphia lawyer brought his campaign against distracted driving to Massachusetts. Joel Feldman gave his presentation at the State House on Monday, one day after a bus full of students crashed into an overpass. Feldman believes that at least part of the cause of that accident was the driver being distracted with GPS.
One of the keys to reducing distracted driving accidents, according to Feldman, is to educate students. “I’m a firm believer that the kids are better listeners than the parents,” Feldman said. “We get emails from kids and parents and part of the program is the kids speak with their parents. I’m convinced the kids are going to change the driving culture.”
Feldman views distracted driving as a cultural problem. “It’s kind of in terms of the way I used a seat belt when I was growing up, because my parents never did,” he said. “Then 20 years ago people started to look at drunk driving in a different way. And now the kids of today will be the impetus on how we will look at distracted driving.”
Part of Feldman’s presentation involved a new video that discussed the perils of distracted driving. The video showed both the driver and survivors of an accident that took place in Massachusetts, and resulted in a fatality. “In this case, the driver contacted the family and said ‘I’m so sorry,'” Feldman said. “The family said she should do something about it, so we started using her to give presentations in high schools. It is so compelling that we wanted to do a video with her and the family said we want to tell our side as well.”
Feldman chose to premiere the video in Massachusetts since the people featured in it are from the state. The video is available here.
An accident that struck too close to home inspired Feldman to undertake his crusade against distracted driving. Feldman and his wife, Dianne Anderson, lost their 21-year-old daughter Casey when a distracted driver hit and killed her as she was walking to work in July of 2009 in Ocean City, N.J.
Cell phone use is just one aspect of distracted driving, Feldman emphasized. “Texting and cellphone use, that causes less than a third of distracted driving accidents,” Feldman said. “We still have two-thirds of the causes out there. There needs to be education and awareness.”
Feldman says he has given the presentation to 7,500 students since April. He plans on having others give the presentation too, hoping to reach about 200,000 students by June.
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Source: Father takes distracted driving cause to Massachussetts, www.delcotimes.com, February 5, 2013.