Distracted Driving Awareness Month


The Observer Newsroom, featured above, is dedicated to Casey Feldman, former News Editor. (PHOTO BY EMILY TIBERIO/THE OBSERVER)


April is officially National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and distracted driving is an issue that is pertinent in New York City. “New York State still holds the dubious distinction of having the worst record in the nation for pedestrian fatalities,” Tri-state Transportation Campaign Policy Coordinator Nadine Lemon said in a Daily News article from May 2015.

Distracted driving resulted in 3,154 deaths in 2013, according to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NTSA).

New York City, specifically Manhattan, has a particularly bad record when it comes to pedestrian safety, with 2.1 deaths for every 100,000 people, compared to 1.88 citywide. The borough averages 34 pedestrians killed every year, according to a Daily News article.

The Lincoln Square Bow Tie Intersection, where Columbus Avenue crosses Broadway and 65th Street, which is a block away from Fordham College at Lincoln Center, is “one of the borough’s most dangerous, according to crash data from 2008 to 2012, placing itself in the top 5 percent of Manhattan intersections due to the high number of people killed or injured in traffic,” as reported in a previous article covering the intersection in The Observer. Recently changes to the intersection, under New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, will strive to make it safer for pedestrians.

The CDC categorizes three different types of distracted driving. Visual distraction is when a person takes their eyes off of the road. Manual distraction is when a driver takes their hands off the wheel of their vehicle. Cognitive distraction is when a driver is not thinking of driving while behind the wheel. All of these can lead to a tragic accident which can rob anyone of a daughter, friend, sister.

April 6, 2015 marks what would’ve been former Observer News Editor, Casey Feldman’s FCLC ’10, 27th birthday. Before her senior year at FCLC, Feldman was struck by a distracted motorist on July 17, 2009 while walking across a crosswalk during daylight hours on her way to a summer job as a waitress in Ocean City, N.J.

Feldman’s calling was journalism. She anchored for her high school’s news program, wrote for her high school paper and was a lead critic for Springfield High School for the Greater Philadelphia Region Cappies.
At Fordham College Lincoln Center, she majored in communication and media studies and became a part of The Observer. At the newspaper, she quickly moved through the ranks, getting bylines as a freshman and then becoming the news editor as a junior. Feldman was recognized for her writing skill when she was named a finalist for the 2009 Chandler Award for Student Writer of the Year in Religion.

“Casey Feldman, who would have turned 27… was one of the most talented and self-starting journalism students I’ve ever had,” Elizabeth Stone Ph.D., advisor for The Observer and professor of English, posted on her Facebook.

Her parents Joel Feldman and Dianne Anderson created End Distracted Driving Organization (ENDDD) and the Casey Feldman Network to advocate against distracted driving. The organization’s mission “is to preserve life and promote safety on a large scale through advocacy, education and action,” and it is the group’s “hope that we can prevent families and friends from suffering the loss of a loved one because of distracted driving.”