Global Youth Traffic Safety Month is now, and EndDD.org was there for the launch in Washington, DC, with the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS), committing to help young people change their driving habits to make this the safest summer ever. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for American teenagers and summer is the deadliest season of all.
“Having the opportunity to meet so many teens committed to working to keep their friends and other young people safe while driving or as passengers is really energizing,” said Joel Feldman, EndDD.org founder, who brings the EndDD.org interactive program to students across the country. “Distracted driving will only change when our culture about distracted driving changes.”
Feldman’s 21-year-old daughter, Casey, was killed by a distracted driver in 2009. He and his wife, Dianne Anderson, created The Casey Feldman Foundation to honor her life and EndDD.org, a project of the foundation, to end distracted driving to help save the lives of other young people.
At the NOYS Global Youth Traffic Safety Summit, Feldman, and his wife, Dianne Anderson, had the opportunity to speak with Quaku Mandela and learn of his family’s distracted driving tragedy – the death of a Quaku’s niece. “Road safety is a basic human right.” said Quakum “and we need to make a daily pledge to commit to safe driving.” Now, Mandela devotes much of his time to the cause, in South Africa, and around the world.
“We don’t ever imagine that young people, so vital, so energetic and with so much promise for the future can be killed in an instant, and in a way that is so senseless and entirely preventable. We look forward to working with Quaku and the other inspiring leaders we met at the Global Youth Traffic Safety Month launch,” said Feldman.
“We value the opportunity to work with all of these youth leaders and applaud Sandy Spavone , director of NOYS and Debra Hersman, Director of the National Transportation Safety Board, for bringing together leaders from all segments of the population for the launch of Global Youth Traffic safety Month,” Feldman said.
Crashes involving distracted driving are killing children across the country at an alarming rate. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that more than 5,000 young people, ages 16-20, are killed in passenger vehicle crashes every year.
“As parents we need to do more to set an example of safe, non-distracted driving. We can start by putting down our cell phones, not having meals in the car and just driving,” said Feldman. “We need to immediately make a point of telling our children we are changing the way we drive because it is so important and then doing it. Isn’t it worth our children’s safety to give up using our cell phones while driving?”
More than 200,000 teenagers in 35 states will participate in the EndDD.org interactive program this year, created by Feldman with the help of traffic safety, health, and behavior experts.
The NOYS launch of May 2013 as Global Youth Traffic Safety Month included a Bike to School event, a Youth Traffic Safety Rally at the Jefferson Memorial and a Youth Open House and Transportation Education Day. EndDD.org was one of the organizations exhibiting at the event.
Rallies and events will continue throughout the month to focus attention on youth traffic safety and efforts to help young people reduce heir risk of motor vehicle crashes and fatalities.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stated that
distracted driving is an epidemic” and issued a statement about Global Youth Traffic Safety Month, saying it “is an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of good driving habits as we enter the summer months, and I thank all of the youth leaders across the country who are making an effort to improve road safety in their communities.”