The EndDD campaign has been taken to Massachusetts and kicked off at the State Capital in a press conference surrounding the premier release of the newest EndDD PSA video, “Just a Few Seconds”, which has now been incorporated into the EndDD distracted driving presentation. The PSA is one of the first to feature both the distracted driver and the victim’s family, surrounding a deadly accident that occurred in Massachusetts. The press, including Massachusetts TV stations were present and provided extensive reporting of the event, which ironically occurred just one day after a Boston bus crash that injured some 30 passengers from Philadelphia, some of them critically. It was suspected that the bus driver, who was also from the Philadelphia area, was using his GPS at the time of the accident. Likewise, the 17 year old driver featured in the new EndDD PSA, Kate McGuire, was also using her GPS at the time of the accident.
The victim’s daughter featured in the new “Just a Few Seconds” video, Emily Stein, a 31 year old nurse, participated in the press conference with Joel Feldman, founder of EndDD, creator of the EndDD distracted driving presentation and producer of the video. Massachusetts officials also participated and Governor Deval Patrick declared the day as Distracted Driving Awareness Day. Tim Kelleher, President of the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys (MATA) announced the decision of MATA to have its members take the distracted driving message to schools throughout the state.
The day following the press conference, Feldman took the EndDD presentation to Medford High School outside of Boston. Emily held up a picture of her father for the students, which showed them laughing and kicking up their heels. “That photo was taken the night of my first semi-formal dance when I was fifteen,” said Emily. “He took that time to kick his heels up and really …admire me and …my growing up.”
Emily also told the students how difficult it was raising a baby in her father’s absence. She was 6 months pregnant at the time of her father’s death. Howard Stein, a former elementary school teacher, was excited about being a grandfather for the first time. “I knew he was going to be such a fantastic grandfather,” said Emily.
Despite the fact that the presentation occurred in an auditorium with some 250 students, Feldman engaged the students, who were anxious to participate, perhaps in part by being rewarded with an EndDD wristband, which was tossed to the students upon answering a question or posing a comment. The students laughed and had fun when Feldman initiated a role play between the Superintendent of schools, Roy Belson and student Lucas Campos. The Superintendent acted as the distracted “father” driving and student Lucas Campos played the part of his passenger son attempting to speak up for his safety and dissuade his “father” from using his cell phone.
Feldman told the students how he drove distracted before his daughter Casey was killed by a distracted driver in 2009. As with all students who see the EndDD presentation, the Medford High teens had the opportunity to see the Casey Feldman “Faces of Distracted Driving” video produced by Feldman for the U.S. Department of Transportation. That video features Casey’s mother and friends, the latter of whom expressed how they have changed the way they drive as a result of Casey’s death.
“These videos might be sad, “said Feldman, “but you have the power to change the way that you drive, or if you aren’t driving yet, to be a safe driver when you do get your permit and license. You don’t need and wouldn’t want a personal tragedy for you to change the way that you drive.”
Tim Kelleher took the opportunity to participate in his first EndDD presentation. “I have made this volunteer program a priority this year as President of MATA, and we will continue it as a prominent part of MATA’s public service projects for our members statewide for many years going forward,” said Kelleher. “ I believe in safety on every level and this is such an important program because we are educating those most at risk – young and inexperienced drivers. The national ‘End Distracted Driving’ project is a perfect fit for MATA, as we work every day at keeping families safe as members of the trial bar.”
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“Father takes distracted driving cause to Mass”, by Jeff Wolfe, Daily Times, Feb. 4, 2013
“End Distracted Driving Campaign Kicks Off at MHS”, Medford Public Schools
” Program to end distracted driving Underway”, Fox News, Feb. 5, 2013 – Interview with Tim Kelleher, MATA