Getting distracted driving message to stick

Posted at 7:56 PM, Feb 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-26 19:56:53-05

A new study says the drivers in about nine out of every ten cars have engaged in some type of distracted driving.  In the past month, most of those cases involve a phone.

In a survey by AAA, more than 70 percent said they talked on a cell phone while driving in the past month.

During that same period, more than two in five drivers admitted to reading a text message or email while driving.

A driver like that killed Joel Feldman's daughter. He's spent the past six years sharing her story hoping drivers will focus on the road.

"I realized I could have been the driver, I drove distracted all the time," Feldman admits.

He brings his presentation to schools and businesses. He shows public service announcements, but the strategy he uses which is different is to hand out business cards. He has teens email him updates on their driving habits.

"No one goes to the therapist for one visit, so I have to extend it any way I can," he says.

Grandview Preparatory School student Matthew Schner saw Feldman's presentation. He says having some accountability will make the message stick.

"Even though we saw this today, and that's going to help me tomorrow, I have to keep that mindset every time," he says.

Across town, hundreds of driver's education teachers and safety advocates from Florida met to come up with strategies to get their point across.

Dori Saves Lives organized the conference, which included a presentation on dealing with drugged drivers.

Driver's education teachers say they're incorporating more technology into the classroom and starting to plant the safe driving seed in elementary and middle schoolers.

"We want to make their classrooms and counties a safer place for young teen drivers," explains Eric Stern, the administrator for driver's education in Palm Beach County.

Teen drivers tell NewsChannel 5 real life stories like Feldman's make a big impact.

"I couldn't lose one of my friends, I couldn't imagine losing Diamond, she's my best friend," explained Grandview Prep student Evangeline Bedos, as she hugged her friend, Diamond.

If she keeps her eyes on the road, her friend will stay by her side.