This upcoming Tuesday, May 12th, EndDD.org Founder Joel Feldman will be hosting a national distracted driving presentation on Zoom. In 2009, Feldman’s 21-year-old daughter Casey was killed by a distracted driver. As a partner in the Philadelphia law firm Anapol Weiss, Feldman now devotes the bulk of his professional time to giving distracted driving presentations at schools, businesses, and conferences across the country, seeking to make the nation’s roads safer. With the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown, Feldman and his EndDD.org speakers are missing out on educating between 30 to 45 thousand teens before the typical school-year end about the dangers of distracted driving. Now, with the help of Zoom, EndDD has the opportunity to change that statistic.
“We would have about 200 speakers going to schools and talking to teens right now. They’re frustrated, and so am I, that we can’t get this message out. So as schools have moved to the online format, so have we,” explained Feldman. He added, “Otherwise, kids might have to go a whole year without hearing our message and I can’t let that happen.”
Board Member of the Casey Feldman Foundation and Founder of Milestone Consulting, John Bair, was an integral force in making the national Zoom call a reality. He saw the lockdown as an opportunity to “plant a seed when people are more receptive to receive a safety message. When a presentation is done right, which is always the case with Joel, it makes the recipient deeply reflect on their safety habits. Everyone is looking forward to getting back to normal, so it’s important that we get this message out now before the roads become busy again,” he explained.
Zoom is a paid video-conferencing platform that can accommodate thousands of users on a single call. The price of holding a nationwide Zoom call is high, however, Zoom strongly believes in the importance of EndDD’s message and was willing to cover the cost. A representative for Zoom involved in the negotiations said, “Zoom is proud to work with EndDD to make distracted driving a thing of the past. We have long cared about this issue, as seen in the safe driving mode we’ve created for our mobile app. EndDD reached out to Zoom earlier this year about hosting webinars for high school students to deliver their important message about distracted driving. We were happy to help with this effort by providing complimentary Zoom licenses and event support.”
Using The COVID-19 Crisis to Understand Distracted Driving
Feldman made it clear that while the format is continually evolving, his message remains unaffected. “I want teens to take away the same messages from this Zoom call as I would hope they would in my regular presentations. I want them to drive safely and be the person that’s not afraid to speak up when they see distracted driving. I want them to understand that each and every one of them has the power to save lives.” Bair added, “If this call has the potential to save one life, then it’s all worth it.”
Respect remains a core value of Feldman’s presentations, and now, more than ever before, he believes that message will resonate with his audience on a deeper level. The COVID-19 crisis serves as an example of respect “…that we all can relate to,” Feldman explained. “Now’s the perfect time to give this presentation, since teens are more receptive to and understanding of what respect is, especially in relation to the coronavirus. We wear our masks to protect other people, in case we carry the virus, even if we’re feeling fine. Doing so shows our respect and caring for others. My goal is to apply that same concept to driving; we share the road with others, so let’s show them respect by not driving distracted.”
He continued, “There seems to be a universal outpouring of care for one another right now, and if we want to get through this, we have to work together. Why not apply this to our driving? Why have this mindset when you’re on the road?” Although not all teens sit behind the wheel, both Feldman and Bair believe that this message carries the same importance. Bair explained, “This generation of teens is caring. It’s about recognizing that distracted behavior carries a risk that can affect their loved ones. Even if they don’t drive, their circle of influence is very broad, so if they get that message out to their family members or friends that drive, it’s beneficial for everyone.”
Joel has spoken to nearly 200,000 teens since his daughter Casey was killed by a distracted driver. He does between 100-125 distracted driving presentations each year, to which Bair said, “Joel is an amazing speaker, but not everyone gets to see him. We now have the opportunity to change that.” On the same note, Feldman added, “While I won’t be able to see the faces of all the teens listening, I know that they will be affected.”