Together We Can End Distracted Driving

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Shortly before the holidays, I was privileged to join two of my colleagues from the Maryland Association for Justice — Ryan Perlin and MAJ's president, Ellen Flynn — in giving an hour-long multimedia presentation aimed at ending distracted driving.

We made the presentation at St. Timothy's School for Girls in bucolic Green Spring Valley, just north of Baltimore City. The entire school and faculty, nearly 200 people, were fully engaged as we discussed this deadly problem on our roadways.

Full confession time: I was a distracted driver, thinking that my ability to multitask permitted me to make telephone calls, while driving to and from appointments and/or court. As a result of my involvement with the Casey Feldman Foundation and EndDD.org, I no longer drive distracted.

In 2009, Casey Feldman was killed by a distracted driver while traversing the street in a crosswalk. She was 21 years old, just one year older than my oldest son. Following Casey's tragic death, her family and friends wanted to do something to prevent others from being injured or killed by distracted drivers. Joel Feldman, Casey’s father, a friend and trial lawyer from Philadelphia — with help from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 60 for Safety, his law firm, Anapol Weiss, and others — worked to develop a science-based presentation that would engage and change attitudes and behaviors. The presentation is based on health communication and behavior change theory. It incorporates teen messaging concepts to engage and appeal to teens in a non-confrontational matter.

With the help of volunteer speakers across the country, including safety professionals, teachers, trial lawyers, college students, driver’s education instructors, law enforcement personnel, physicians, nurses, therapists, injury prevention coordinators, and other health care professionals, Joel Feldman’s dream of reaching thousands of teens and adults with distracted driving presentations has become a reality. As of January 2018, nearly 400,000 students and 15,000 adults have seen the EndDD.org presentation in 45 states and Canada. We reached even more in 2019. As the program has expanded, talks are also being given to middle school and college students, adults and businesses. Special presentations for adult audiences are available upon request.

The key to the program is its combination of hard evidence, sobering statistics and good humor. The teens with whom I have spoken are generally more astute than their parents about driving undistractedly. We help to give them tools so that they can confront parents, friends and fellow students when distracted driving endangers safety.

The video clips included in the EndDD.org multimedia presentation feature a Quebecois bus driver busy doing paperwork, while he looks down in his lap and away from the road for unbelievably long periods; harrowing footage of real-life distracted teens barely avoiding collisions; and a pair of young men discussing ways to avoid distracted driving. Ultimately, they decide that the car is not a good place to make a delectable seafood bisque.

If you are an educator, a community leader or if you’re interested in making our roads safer for all, you should check out the EndDD.org presentation. If you’d like to arrange for a presentation, please call or email me.

Finally, if you or a loved one are the victim of a distracted driver, you are entitled to be compensated for you injuries. You should consult with an attorney who is familiar with this area of the law and who will assist you in making informed decisions.

David Diggs is experienced in all facets of personal injury law. If you need further information regarding this subject, contact The Law Office of David V. Diggs, LLC, which is located at 8684 Veterans Highway, Suite 204, in Millersville. Call 410-244-1171 or email david@diggslaw.com.

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