Now that it’s illegal to text and drive in the state, Montgomery County wants to let drivers know how important it is to follow the law.
In the latest commissioners meeting, county officials approved a resolution to formally recognize the week of April 8 as Distracted Driving Awareness Week.
Commissioners heard from a family who lost their daughter due to distracted driving.
Casey Feldman was killed in 2009 due to a distracted driver not seeing her cross the street.
“It was totally preventable,” said Joel Feldman, Casey's father. “Since Casey’s death, my wife and I and others helped us by meeting and talking to people about distracted driving.”
April is appropriate for the week since it is National Distracted Driving Month. The county plans to get the word out that there is a week to promote the safety of driving.
“I think people know it is a law now, but people are still disregarding it,” said commissioner Leslie Richards. “We just have to remind people and hear it over and over again.
“When we do the presentation and we talk to the students, I always ask that to raise their hands to how many of their parents drive distracted with their parents in the car,” Feldman added. “Virtually every student raises their hand. I also ask them how comfortable they are talking to their parents about not having them drive distractive with them in the car. They say that they are not comfortable.”
Feldman already set up presentations in schools in Montgomery County such as Agnes Irwin, Haverford School, Upper Dublin and Mount St. Josephs.
As for Casey’s mother, Dianne Anderson, she stated the tragedy as turning her “world upside down.”
“It shouldn’t take a personal tragedy to change the way we drive,” said Feldman.
For chairman Joshua Shapiro, it is personal as well. Shapiro really pushed lawmakers to pass the law.
“I just thought it made good sense,” said Shapiro. “I was struck over the years how many people I met who told me terrible stories of tragedy that came upon their family in result of distracted driving.”
On his trip home from Harrisburg after urging for the law, Shapiro was involved in a minor car accident.
“One day when I was driving home, I was a minute from my house and I was hit from behind,” Shapiro said. “When I got out of the car I was fine. The woman driving the car apologized to me for hitting me because she didn’t see me there. She was texting while driving. It became personal for me.”