The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

April 13, 2014

Alabama attorneys try to get distracted driving message to students

Distracted driving kills 5,000 people a year

— Write the following message on a piece of paper and tape it to your dashboard: Distracted driving kills 5,000 people and injures nearly 450,000 each year nationwide.

As motorists, we may think most distracted driving accident are caused by drivers talking, texting or reaching for their cellphones. Cellphone use is blamed for 18 percent of traffic fatalities in distraction-related crashes, statistics show.

The rest are caused by things like putting on lipstick, reaching over to grab a drink, changing the music, reading a roadmap, eating on the go, according to End Distracted Driving, an organization created by a couple whose daughter, Casey Feldman, was struck and killed in a crosswalk by a distracted driver. See more at

A group of Alabama attorneys is making it their mission this month to teach the state's students about the perils of distracted driving. The Alabama Association for Justice (ALAJ), a plaintiffs' attorneys organization, is part of a nationwide effort to reach more than 100,000 drivers this year with the "end distracted driving" message.

"Our organization is committed to increasing safety awareness, which will help prevent injuries and fatalities," said Jeff Rickard, president of the ALAJ.

During April, AJAJ-member attorneys are making presentations to school students across the state. Although Athens and Limestone County schools do not yet have presentations scheduled, an ALAJ attorney is expected to contact them soon.

The organization also partnered with Sen. Tom Whatley, R-Auburn, and Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, to pass a resolution naming April "End Distracted Driving Awareness Month" in Alabama.

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