Posted by Chip Gentry |
As trial lawyers helping families through various tragedies, and typically those involving car wrecks, we routinely see the devastation left behind when someone makes the decision to drive distracted. Distractions abound: texting; finding the perfect song; eating; putting on make-up – can all lead to horrific consequences. I am a parent of a driving teenage son and an impressionable young daughter. My wife Pam drives around town all day every day for her career. As such, I am deeply concerned about the epidemic of distracted driving resulting in needless deaths and injuries on our roadways. Our children, inexperienced drivers, and often passengers in cars being driven by other inexperienced drivers, are, particularly at risk. Traffic crashes are now the leading cause of death for teens. The vast majority of teen crashes are caused by one type or another of common driver distractions. Working with a couple of different sets of parents over the last month, all of whom buried their children due to car crashes caused by distracted driving led me to want to reach out to kids before tragedy strikes. Lives can be saved with changed behavior and habits.
With the help of traffic safety professionals, physicians, and behavioral scientists the EndDD.org (End distracted driving) presentation was developed to maximize opportunities for teen reflection and driving attitude and behavior change. The presentation is not confrontational and we do not lecture teens, but invite them to help solve a community problem of distracted driving. The presentation is evidence-based. The Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) recently highlighted the EndDD.org presentations as one of the most effective for teens. The presentation has successfully been given to more than 250,000 teens across the country and has received very positive feedback from students, teachers, and school administrators.
The presentation can be given in classrooms – health or phys ed, driver’s ed, or assemblies. There is no charge for the presentation but if funding is available a contribution can be made to the Casey Feldman Foundation-but that is absolutely not a requirement. The presentation was inspired by the death of Casey Feldman, whose promising young life was tragically ended when she was struck and killed by a distracted driver while walking across a road. Her father, also a trial attorney, created the foundation and has recruited numerous presenters across the country to improve driver behavior and save lives.
I know that all parents share my desire to help inform our teens so that they can make better and safer decisions about their driving, as well as empowering them to be able to insist that those who drive them do so safely. As we work to make our roadways safer, please take the time to talk to your teenagers about the dangers of distracted driving, or consider becoming a presenter for EndDD.org. We can make a difference!