Safe by Choice

EnergyLines September 2018

 

The keynote speaker at this year’s Merom Safety Week travels the continent to discuss a topic close to his life.

 

Joel Feldman, has been a lawyer for 37 years but his topic was not about lawsuits. Nine years ago, Feldman lost his 21 year-old daughter to a distracted driver. She was crossing the street, in a crosswalk, during broad daylight when a 58 year-old man looked down to reach for his GPS and entered the intersection at 45 mph. Feldman’s daughter died on the way to the hospital.

 

A car traveling at 55 MPH will travel, on average, 80 feet per second. In the four seconds it takes to look at your phone and read a text message, you have traveled the length of a football field without looking at the road. Feldman asked the audience if they would close their eyes for four seconds while driving. No one raised their hand. Feldman continued, “Yet, we feel comfortable reading a text.”

 

“Driving is about respect,” said Feldman. “Respect for others on the road, respect for their loved ones, and respect for your own loved ones. People may consider themselves safe drivers, but are they really just lucky drivers? One day the luck will run out.”

 

Two-thirds of 18 year-old drivers do not text and drive. It has become a social norm for this age group to not text and drive because they have been targeted for years with the messaging of how distracted driving can cost lives. Yet, 38 percent of the American workforce feels that they need to be available at all times for work, including drive time. This is a self-inflicted demand as most companies have policies against distracted driving.

 

Driving should be “your uninterrupted time,” encouraged Feldman. He continues, “Stop making excuses. Reclaim the time in the car as a time to unwind and be out of reach of distractions from work, family or other sources.”

 

Distractions can include texting, eating, looking up directions or anything that takes your eyes and your concentration off the road. Feldman said, “Show your family and other drivers the respect they deserve by keeping your eyes on the road at all times. End distracted driving.”

 

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