By Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Distracted driving kills nine people every day and injures another 1,100, according to the CDC. Experts say it’s a growing problem as more and more people turn to their phones and other technology while behind the wheel.
One Philadelphia father, who lost his daughter to a distracted driver, is telling his story to high school students hoping to raise awareness and save lives.
“My daughter Casey was killed by a distracted driver,” Joel Feldman tells a 10th grade class at Marple Newtown High School. Twenty-one-year-old Casey was hit by a 58 year-old man who was distracted by his GPS.
It turns out it’s not just teens and 20-year-olds who drive distracted. Research has shown that plenty of parents are behind the wheel with their kids and not paying attention. Feldman says, “Studies show if kids grow up in a house with mom and dad who drives distracted they are three to four times more likely to also drive distracted.”
Admitting he did it too before Casey was killed, now Feldman is on a mission to end distracted driving, talking to groups all over the country and gathering poignant reminders. His wrists are filled with bands representing students killed by distracted driving.
Student Ale Borbolla says, “I’m really sad I didn’t realize how many accidents happen. Made me realize it’s really dangerous.” And fellow 10th grader Brendan Hartner says, “People think it’s not a big deal. It’s actually a really big deal.”
Just like teaching the dangers of drunk driving, this new mission is to spread the word on how technology and driving don’t mix either: A message that students will teach their parents.
Feldman says, “I’m pretty confident we are saving lives…. For a dad who’s lost a daughter, I’m fortunate that I get to make the positive impact I have in Casey’s memory.”
Joel, who’s a Philadelphia lawyer, has been running in the Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathons to raise money for the cause. Philadelphia’s takes place this Saturday in Philly. And he created an interactive educational program about distracted driving that’s available here:
For the Rock n Roll Marathon Series, Travelers Insurance is donating money to the Casey Feldman Foundation for every mile Joel and his team runs throughout the country.