Originally published: Luther Turmelle, New Haven Register, 2/23/16
A Pennsylvania-based attorney whose daughter was killed by a distracted driver told juniors and seniors at Cheshire High School Tuesday that they can change the way people look at the subject.
Joel Feldman urged the 800 students who attended his presentation on Tuesday to speak up when they see friends and family members engaging in distracted driving. Feldman founded an organization, End Distracted Driving, to honor the memory of his daughter Casey.
“You don’t have to drive like your moms and dads,” Feldman said. “We’re here because we want you to have a safe future. And these deaths are 100 percent preventable.”
Feldman roamed the aisles of the school auditorium during the presentation, pulling students out of the audience to participate in role playing exercises.
“We’re teaching children about how to drive from the minute their car seat is facing forward,” he told faculty and staff members.
Feldman’s visit to Cheshire High School was sponsored by the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association, and he spoke to about two-dozen members of the group later Tuesday. That meeting was designed to help train the attorneys so they can go out and do similar presentations, said Katie Marinan Marino, the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association director of continuing legal education programs and development.
Eric Smith, public relations co-chairman for the professional group and an attorney with the Faxon Law Group in New Haven, said it makes sense for lawyers to help combat distracted driving.
“We’re used to presenting the stories of our clients to juries, so this is just another use of that skill,” Smith said.
Cheshire High School Principal Jeff Solan said Feldman’s presentation was “extremely effective.”
“It’s a tremendously personal story that has so many elements so everybody can relate to it,” Solan said. “Even if it only influenced 20 percent of the audience today, it will help spread the word.”
Note: The speaker was attorney Joel Feldman, the creator of EndDD