“Distracted driving” is unfortunately a household term. According to the National Highway Transportation Association (NHTSA), more than 10 people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured in distracted driving crashes each day. The National Safety Council (NSC) and other traffic safety organizations believe these figures are vastly underreported, perhaps by as much as 25 percent.
Unlike drunk driving, there is no blood test to confirm that a driver was distracted at the time of a crash. Many states are reporting declines in drunk driving deaths but increases in distracted driving deaths.
What are lawyers doing about reducing distracted driving crashes?
EndDD.org (End Distracted Driving) Community Presentations
Since 2012, more than 225,000 teens and adults have seen distracted driving presentations given by volunteer speakers across the U.S. and Canada. The volunteer speakers include drivers ed instructors, health care professionals, traffic safety professionals and educators, but the vast majority of speakers have been trial lawyers.
For information about becoming a speaker or hosting a presentation in your community, go to EndDD.org. The teens and adults who have seen EndDD.org presentations given by lawyers have provided great feedback, and survey analysis of attendees indicates that we are changing driving attitudes and behaviors.
As we reach more and more teens and adults across the country and Canada, the message will grow. Our goal is that one day safe non-distracted driving will be the norm.
Lawyers leading by example — modeling safe, non-distracted driving
Lawyers — like most everyone else — are busy and trying to be efficient and productive with their time. Often our cars become extensions of our offices and the desire to stay in constant communication with family, co-workers and clients makes it tempting to e-mail, text or make calls when driving.
Most of the lawyers who have given distracted driving presentations admit that they drove distracted. Most people believe at some level that they can get away with taking chances while driving, because they have done so and see others driving distracted. But many of the speakers have changed the way they drive as a result of doing the EndDD.org presentations.
This admission from a lawyer-speaker is common:
I am a habitual car texter and emailer while driving. I have had some close calls and have been very lucky. Tonight changed that. For the first time ever I chose to place my phone in the trunk when I got in the car. And you know what? I didn’t miss it at all.
Members of the community know that lawyers are experts when it comes to laws, safety and automobile crashes. Accordingly, it is not surprising that by driving safely and by talking about distracted driving, lawyers are setting an example for others.
Law firms adopting cell phone policies
Law firms across the country are adopting safe driving policies for their workplaces. Texting, calls, checking e-mails, using navigation devices while moving, eating, and personal grooming are addressed in these policies. Supervisors are working with employees to establish acceptable response times so employees do not feel that their job depends on answering the boss’s text or e-mail immediately, even if driving.
These policies also address sharing responsibility with the driver for arriving safely and speaking up to offer a safer alternative if their driver tries to drive while distracted. We adopted a safe driving policy at Anapol Schwartz, which can be found here: http://www.anapolschwartz.com/safe-driving-policy.pdf.
About Joel Feldman:
Joel is a partner at Anapol Schwartz in Philadelphia. After his daughter Casey was killed by a distracted driver, he created EndDD.org and speaks at high schools, colleges, hospitals, medical and legal conferences and seminars, safety conferences and workplaces about distracted driving. He can be reached at: email@example.com