April 12, distracted driving attorney Tom Robenalt and a Cleveland Academy of Trial Attorneys (CATA) colleague spoke to approximately 400 Rocky River High School juniors and seniors for EndDD.org. A personal injury lawyer started the organization after a driver killed his 21-year-old daughter by taking his eyes off the road to reach for a drink as she crossed a crosswalk in 2009.
In an effort to help prevent other families from going through the pain that father’s family has endured, Tom volunteered to speak to high school students to further EndDD’s mission “to preserve life and promote safety on a large scale through advocacy, education, and action,” as its website states. Schools, businesses, and organizations can contact EndDD.org to have a distracted driving speaker like Tom warn students, employees, and members about the dangers of doing other things while they’re behind the wheel.
Distracted Driving Isn’t Just Texting
By now, you’ve probably heard or read that texting takes a driver’s eyes off the road for at least five seconds, which, at 55 mph, is equivalent to “driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed,” according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And while texting is the most dangerous distraction because it increases the risk of a crash 23 times, according to textinganddrivingsafety.com, the term “distracted driving” also includes:
- talking on a phone or to others in the vehicle;
- using social media, including Pokemon GO;
- programming GPS equipment;
- changing radio stations; and
- eating or drinking.
Results of Tom’s Distracted Driving Presentation
During Wednesday’s presentation, Tom and his colleague encouraged their high school audience to talk to their friends, parents, and siblings about distracted driving and to make it as socially unacceptable as drunk driving. Later in the afternoon, Tom received a call from a Cuyahoga County Pleas Court judge who thanked him for giving the presentation and said it made such an impact on his daughter that she called him afterward and asked him to refrain from any type of distracted driving because of the harm it could cause.
How You Can Help End Distracted Driving Injuries and Deaths
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than eight people die and 1,161 people are injured in distracted driver accidents every day in the United States. As the National Safety Council said, one call or text can change lives forever, so here are seven distraction prevention tips from AAA.
- Stow phones and other gadgets, so you aren’t tempted to use them while driving.
- Focus all attention on driving and use mirrors to look out for pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Store anything that could roll onto the floor, so you won’t have to reach for it.
- Adjust mirrors, GPS equipment, the radio, and climate controls before you start driving.
- Put on makeup, style your hair, and do other grooming before you get in the car, so you aren’t looking in the mirror instead of at the road.
- Eat before you drive.
- Strap in children and pets before you start moving. If they need your attention, pull over instead of reaching behind you.
Also, don’t assume you can multitask.
“It is difficult for pretty much everyone to do several things at once,” Earl K. Miller, Ph.D., Picower Professor of Neuroscience at MIT, told Foxnews.com. “In fact, studies have shown that people who have the most confidence that they can multitask are actually the worst at it.”
Distracted Driving Lawyer Welcomes Your Questions
If you have questions about how to file a claim against a distracted driver for a serious injury or death, contact Cleveland attorney Tom Robenalt, who’s licensed to practice in Ohio and Florida but handles distrcted driving cases across the nation, by calling 216-223-7535, submitting this form, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org today.