The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

DOT Promotes 'Faces of Distracted Driving' Series

April 27, 2011

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Transportation has released a new public service announcement (PSA) promoting the department's "Faces of Distracted Driving" series, which has been viewed over 100,000 times since its launch in November 2010.

If any of your fleet drivers still need convincing about the deadly consequences of distracted driving, this DOT series offers plenty of tragic evidence.

The 30-second PSA, "Get the Message," features clips from people who have lost loved ones in distracted driving crashes and have spoken out through the DOT's "Faces of Distracted Driving" campaign.

"I thank all of the families of distracted driving victims who have bravely chosen to share their stories of loss with the world," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "The response to their heartbreaking stories has been overwhelming and their efforts to build public awareness are helping to save lives. I urge everyone to watch our 'Faces of Distracted Driving' series at distraction.gov and to remember: talking or texting while driving is not worth the risk."

The U.S. Department of Transportation's "Faces of Distracted Driving" video series shines a light on the tragic consequences of texting and cell phone use while driving. In 2009, nearly 5,500 people died and half a million were injured in accidents involving a distracted driver.

Here are a few of the individuals featured in the series:

Bob and Eilene Okerblom of Santa Maria, Calif. -- For their story, click here. On July 25, 2009, 19-year-old Eric Okerblom was killed when his bike was struck by a truck traveling at 60 miles per hour. Cell phone records indicate that the driver was texting just prior to the collision. Since their son's death, Bob and Eilene Okerblom have become advocates against distracted driving, and Bob is currently biking cross-country to raise awareness.

Loren Vaillancourt of Huron, S.D. -- For her story, click here. On May 20, 2009, 21-year-old Kelson Vaillancourt was riding with a co-worker to a job site when the driver became distracted and failed to yield at a stop sign. He drove into oncoming traffic, and their vehicle was struck by a tractor-trailer. Kelson died the next day. To honor her brother's memory, Loren Vaillancourt has been using her visibility as Miss South Dakota 2010 to speak with schools and organizations throughout her state about the dangers of distracted driving.

Joel and Dianne Feldman of Springfield, Pa. -- For their story, click here. On July 17, 2009, 21-year-old Casey Feldman was struck and killed by a distracted driver as she crossed the street in Ocean City, N.J. To honor her memory, Casey's family and friends produced their own video for the "Faces of Distracted Driving" series.

Johnny Mac and Jeanne Brown of Wellman, Texas -- For their story, click here. On Nov. 10, 2009, 17-year-old Alex Brown was killed when she crashed her truck on a rural road while she was on her way to school. She was texting at the time of the crash. To honor Alex's memory, her family - Jeanne, Johnny Mac, and 12-year-old Katrina - formed an anti-distracted driving advocacy group, the Remember Alex Brown Foundation.

Emily Reynolds of Omaha, Neb.-- For her story, click here. On May 30, 2007, 16-year-old Cady Reynolds was driving her best friend home from a movie near Omaha, Neb., when another teen driver - who was severely distracted behind the wheel - ran a red light and slammed into her car at 50 miles per hour. Cady was rushed to the hospital with critical injuries and died the next day. Emily Reynolds, Cady's 17-year-old sister, is now an advocate against distracted driving and is an active member of NOYS, the National Organizations for Youth Safety. 

To learn more about DOT's efforts to stop distracted driving, go to www.distraction.gov

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