Distracted Driving: Deadly, But Not All About Teens And Texting

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Despite recent attention and new laws, distracted driving is a growing danger on our roadways and, here's a surprise, it's not all about teens and texting.

Joel Feldman comes to this issue from a painful personal loss. In 2009, his 21 year old daughter, Casey, was struck and killed in a crosswalk by a distracted driver.

He put his legal career on hold and he and his wife, Dianne Anderson, launched an organization, End Distracted Driving, www.enddd.org, and began doing presentations around the country.

Wednesday they were in Nevada, speaking to high school students.

Feldman told a group of Wooster High School students, he wasn't there to lecture them about texting while driving. Instead he wanted to encourage them to make the choice not to drive distracted or allow others to without being challenged.

That includes speaking up when they are passengers in vehicles with a less than attentive drivers, even if those drivers are their most important role models--their parents.
"At another high school today I heard stories of moms sewing in the car with their kids when they're driving," says Feldman. "Dads are driving with their knees on the steering wheel because they're texting. Moms are putting their makeup on and saying to a 14 year old 'Hey honey, hold the steering wheel' while they're driving. It can't be."

Feldman says recently passed laws aren't working. Part of the problem may be because all the focus has been on texting and cell phone use. While a growing problem, texting, he says, only accounts for about 18 percent of the problem.

The driver who killed his daughter he notes was a man who was momentarily distracted as he reached across his vehicle for a GPS unit.

Last year 3,267 people were killed in accidents involving distracted drivers.