Distracted driving is selfish driving: Simple message from grieving father aims to change teen driving habits

Car accidents are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S., according to the CDC. Teen drivers and young adults are also more likely to be involved in distracted driving related crashes.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Car accidents are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Teen drivers and young adults are also more likely to be involved in distracted driving-related crashes.

Joel Feldman lost his 21-year-old daughter, Casey, in a distracted driving accident in 2009, and he wants to keep other families from experiencing the same loss.

Casey was hit and killed by a distracted driver while crossing the street. Her father now dedicates his life to advocating against distracted driving through his organization, End Distracted Driving.

“No young person should be cheated out of their life and no family should have to mourn the loss of a child,” Feldman said. “That’s why I work mostly with teens.”

Every day, about eight people are killed in crashes that involve a distracted driver, according to the CDC.

In a 2019 study into deadly crashes, the agency found drivers between 15 and 19 years old were more likely to be distracted while driving.

Cody Satornino, CEO of E-Z Pass Driving School, said texting and driving is a big issue.

“They can’t maintain focus while on the road. They’re too distracted easily. They take too much time and the fact that if their friend texts them they’re too worried about it,” Satornino said.

A study by the University of Utah found that people who used their phone while driving were more than twice as likely to miss stop signs.

“My simple message to those who say that multitasking isn’t a big deal. I’ll show you these wristbands. Each one represents a dead kid. Each one represents a kid who was killed by someone trying to multi-task,” Feldman said.

Distracted driving is more than just using your phone. It’s anything that takes your attention away from the road, like eating and drinking, talking to people in your car, or playing with the radio or navigation system.

“Distracted driving is selfish driving,” Feldman said. “Treat other people the way you want to be treated. Put the phones down. It’s a respectful right thing to do.”

It takes 5 seconds to glance at a text or a navigation device. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driving at 55 mph for five seconds is equivalent to driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.


About the Author:

This native of the Big Apple joined the News4Jax team in July 2021.