In 2011, I met fellow personal injury and wrongful death attorney, Joel Feldman, and learned about EndDD.org. Joel and his wife Dianne created it in memory of their daughter, Casey, who died when hit by a distracted driver.
Soon we began giving EndDD presentations to students and, because there are more adult distracted drivers than teenagers, we expanded to include adults in the workforce where policies against using mobile devices while driving can make a huge difference.
Distracted driving is a national epidemic; it’s more widespread than the flu. It kills more people each year than died in the worst year of the polio epidemic.
This week, the Terrell • Hogan Distracted Driving Awareness Campaign reached a milestone. We have spoken to over 10,000 teens and adults on the First Coast about the dangers of distracted driving.
We want to help make our roadways safer. The use of smartphones in cars and trucks dramatically increases the risk of injuries and deaths. And things are slowly getting better. This year, the laws in Florida were strengthened regarding texting and driving. And it’s not just “texting;” under the new law, reading or typing a text, tweet, or email is a primary offense: officers can stop drivers for it. The first violation carries a fine, and the fine is doubled for a second offense, and court costs are added.
But “texting” is not the only risky, distracted, driving that’s out there. The law does not make using a hand-held phone a traffic offense, unless in a school zone or designated construction zone. And, hands-free devices aren’t covered by the law, even though “hands free is not all it’s cracked up to be.” It’s dangerous, too, because the one thing safe driving requires most, attention from our brains, is missing. When we drive a car, our only job is to get from point A to point B safely. Multi-tasking is a myth. Research proves our brains actually only do one thing well at a time, our brains attention-switch; using phones while driving causes a type of tunnel vision and we miss important visual cues. When our brain focuses on the call, and not on the driving, we become brain blind, just when we need focused attention the most. The eye sees but the brain doesn’t get it; it’s like a giant cataract gets between the eyes and the brain. Put a different way, research shows that driving while on the phone, even hands-free, carries the same crash risk as driving drunk.
Thank YOU for helping us reach this Milestone!
We did it! Thanks to everyone who has attended our presentations. We’re grateful to everyone who joined us on this journey to end distracted driving. We’re not stopping at 10,000, not when Florida has 14.2 million registered cars and trucks, and so many have distracted drivers at the wheel.
Our free End Distracted Driving Student Awareness presentations share the message with teen drivers early, before bad habits form. We hope to help save lives by sharing this stark reality: taking a life by driving distracted steals not only that life but the teen driver’s future. We also offer strategies on how passengers can get a distracted driver to stop unsafe behavior.
Our free presentation For The Workforce addresses the need for employers to take action to protect both the public’s health and the bottom line. It covers the risks of distracted driving, strategies and solutions to combat it, legal liabilities and other serious consequences such as: civil liability for personal injury and wrongful death, punitive damages, criminal charges, OSHA fines, loss of a license, property damage, insurance rate hikes and productivity loss. The presentation explores creating and implementing distracted driving policies and ways companies protect brand image, profits, and employee safety and productivity.
More Work to Be Done
As we achieve this 10,000 person milestone, we reflect on those lost and injured due to distracted driving. We remain steadfast in our efforts end distracted driving by reaching even more drivers and those who can impact how they drive.
Because One Text or Call Can Wreck it All
To request a free Terrell • Hogan presentation for your school, business, civic group or non-profit call 722-2228 when you’re not driving, of course.