“That photo was taken the night of my first semi-formal dance when I was fifteen,” said Emily Stein of Cambridge, glancing at a photo of her and her father laughing and kicking their heels up. “He, you know, took that time to kick his heels up and really …admire me and …my growing up.”
Emily Stein lost her father nearly two years ago. A young driver was programming her GPS when she swerved into the breakdown lane where Emily’s father was adjusting a loose item on his truck.
“So much has happened and its happened without him,” said Emily. “I had a baby, renovated our home ourselves …but I’m also trying to do distracted driving awareness just to prevent other people from losing their fathers or mothers or children.”
Emily is promoting a public service announcement as part of a statewide campaign to “End Distracted Driving.” Joel Feldman is co-creator of the program.
“We just a saw a taxi driver drive by and he had his cell phone and he had a fare, so he’s risking the safety of himself, his fare and all the other people on the road,” said Joel.
Joel lost his 21-year-old daughter, Casey, in 2009 when a distracted driver failed to see her crossing the street. Massachusetts has outlawed texting while driving, but some argue the state should also ban hand-held phone conversations. Emily and Joel don’t have all the answers. They believe people should just be more aware of their actions on the road, so no one else shares in their loss.
In the meantime, they’ve partnered up with the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Lawyers to conduct a statewide educational tour to teach people about the dangers of distracted driving. They kicked off their first stop at the State House Monday and will continue at Medford High School on Tuesday in eastern Massachusetts.
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