Anapol Schwartz Shareholder and End Distracted Driving (EndDD) Founder Joel Feldman was the keynote speaker at the Cleveland Academy of Trial Attorneys’ (CATA) Annual Installation Dinner on June 13, 2014.
Members of the CATA Community Outreach Committee joined forces with EndDD in April 2014 to put an end to the driving safety crisis that claims thousands of lives every year in the United States. The Outreach Committee, chaired by CATA President-Elect Ellen Hirshman, has since given several EndDD presentations to Ohio high school students.
Joel spoke to CATA about his 21-year-old daughter Casey, who was struck and killed by a distracted driver in a crosswalk in 2009. The driver was reaching for a drink when he hit her an intersection governed by 4-way stop signs during daylight hours.
“Casey died because a driver took his eyes off the road for just a few seconds,” Joel said. “After it happened, I knew I could have easily been that driver. I had driven distracted many times. It took losing Casey for me to realize how lucky I was not to have killed another family’s child, spouse, parent or friend. I lost Casey, and I changed the way I drive.”
Joel has combined his grief with his experience as a successful trial lawyer to develop a campaign that has reached hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. and Canada. He has enlisted the help of hundreds of lawyers, health care workers, and other professionals to give a scientifically-based presentation in high schools and community groups to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving.
In the Spring 2014 edition of the organization’s Magazine, CATA Director Susan E. Peterson wrote an article called “Together, We’ll Save Lives: Help CATA End Distracted Driving,” which posed the question to readers: How many times in the last week were you guilty of distracted driving?
Peterson’s article asks readers to pledge to do their part: “Lead by example. Next time you get behind the wheel, put your phone away. Don’t look at an email. Resist checking Facebook or your inbox. Don’t contribute to the problem. Don’t text and drive … period.”