We at EndDD.org are thrilled that our lifesaving distracted driving program was extended a few weeks ago into Washington state and British Columbia, Canada. It was particularly exciting since the Canadian presentations pushed the number who have seen the EndDD presentation to over 200,000.
In Washington state, presentations took place at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle and at the Burlington Free Library in Skagit County. In addition, a training program was given to members of the Washington State Association for Justice (WSAJ) so that it’s members may carry on the presentation in their local communities. Joining in the Nathan Hale presentation was WSAJ member, Ken Selander. “Joel, it was an honor to briefly share the stage with you in your relentless quest to change teen behavior about distracted driving. I somehow thought I would be watching a tired and maybe jaded speaker delivering the same message by rote for the ten thousandth time. To my disbelief, awe and admiration, I witnessed a passionate speaker who was genuinely concerned about his audience and earnestly communicated a heartfelt message”, said Selander.
The Skagit County presentation included WSAJ member, Heather Webb, as well as Skagit County Deputy Sheriff, John Hendrikson, whose son was killed in an automobile crash. The presentation was sponsored by the Skagit County Medic One and Safe Kids Skagit-Island and recorded on the local public television channel where it will play over the next 1 1/2 years, to reach a wider audience.
Bill Craig, Skagit County EMS Injury Prevention Coordinator and Safe Kids Skagit County Coalition Coordinator, commented on the presentation in a thank you to EndDD founders, Joel Feldman and Dianne Anderson, “Your presentation has made a big impact on those who heard it and will continue to hear it on our local public access T.V. station…. It’s an honor to know you and stand with you to educate the public so we can prevent senseless tragedies on our roads.” Skagit County will be working to get the EndDD presentation into their schools in the fall.
In British Columbia, the presentations were particularly relevant since distracted driving causes more deaths in that province than drunk driving and has become the largest cause of youth crashes. Our neighbors north of the border were particularly appreciative of the fact that Joel Feldman of EndDD prepared a unique presentation that is Canadian based and includes Canadian statistics, stories, photos and videos.
Students at Notre Dame Regional Secondary School in Vancouver and Heritage Woods Secondary School in Port Moody heard the EndDD message. Members of the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia (TLABC) were also given a training session and will be conducting presentations throughout the province beginning in the fall. “Our association is very proud to partner with Joel Feldman and EndDD.org to help make our streets safe, to prevent devastating injuries and deaths from occurring on our roads,” said TLABC’s executive director and CEO, Carla Terzariol. “Distracted driving is not just dangerous, it is deadly.”
Attending the Notre Dame presentation were Corey Bowness of the British Columbia Ministry of Justice, Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles and Bernadette Kowey of the Insurance Company of British Columbia (ICBC), which provides universal public auto insurance in British Columbia and is responsible for driver licensing and vehicle registration. According to Joel Feldman, EndDD.org founder, “The presence of Corey Bowness and Bernadette Kowey is evidence of what a significant issue distracted driving has become in British Columbia and the interest of the government in curbing this epidemic.”
Kicking off the Heritage Woods presentation in Port Moody was TLABC member Sonny Parhar. The presentation was then picked up by Joel Feldman when the slide of his late daughter, Casey Feldman, appeared. While taken aback initially when the question was posed, “Do you have a deadly crotch?”, the students laughed when the slide of the Canadian billboard appeared, featuring a driver looking down at his lap with the statement, “Crotches Kill. Keep your eyes off your phone.”
A mix of seriousness and humor, the students gasped when a poignant 45 second video from the Abbotsford Police Department, B.C. was played. The video was live footage of a pedestrian struck and thrown by a distracted driver in B.C.
Said Joel Feldman, “While I have a few more high school presentations to do back east, I can’t think of a better ending to the current school term than surpassing the 200,000 point and extending our program into the northwest and British Columbia.”
Related Link: “Distracted Driving Is Killing Us – It’s Time to End DD: School Presentations This Week”, Press Release, 5-28-2014, Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia