April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and when I saw that pop up on my calendar, I was reminded of an April in 2012 when I started to see hand lettered signs all over Washington Township in Gloucester County, New Jersey, where I live. They warned of the dangers of distracted driving.
I then saw a news item that a Washington Township High School Senior, Nikki Kellenyi, had been killed in an accident on April 14. Said accident was attributed to distracted driving by the driver, although the police were never able to prove that definitively. I even wrote on this site about how there is only so much you can do to protect your kids.
In the three years since her death her dad, Mike Kellenyi, has worked tirelessly to promote and build People Against Distracted Driving, an organization that raises awareness nationally on the dangers of distracted driving. Naturally, they have lots planned for this month.
Keeping Our Kids Safe
First, they started the "Just Say PADD" campaign with UBER. The campaign is designed for teens and young adults who are not comfortable with their designated driver or their driver. It's a tool that parents can tell their kids to use, and they hope that it will be used in a situation where they feel that their life may be in danger if they ride with a friend, coworker or stranger.
All they need to do is request a ride with the UBER phone app, enter the "PADD" promo code, and they get a free ride back to their home safe and sound. You can get more information here.
Second, they have a campaign to keep kids' minds on the dangers of distracted driving by wearing PADD wristbands available here. There is a contest where you take pictures of the wristband in interesting places, upload them to Instagram with the tags #JustSayPADD and #Racing2EndDD, and a winner will be chosen each month.
Third, they are holding a Prom Fashion Show and Chinese Auction on April 23, 2015, at The Washington, 194 Fries Mill Road, Turnersville, NJ. Doors open at 6:30pm, and the event starts at 7:00pm. Tickets are $45, and includes a sit down dinner and fashion show. If you are in the area, please consider attending.
There's An App For That!
Want a way to keep your kids safe and reward them for refraining from distracted driving? Then get the BeeHive app for your phone and theirs! According to their site, this is how it works:
Drive BeeHive allows you to pair with another user as either their Sponsor or Driver. The Sponsor enters a reward and a total # of miles needed for the Driver to reach that reward. Before Driving the driver opens Drive BeeHive and goes on their way. A lock screen will appear on the phone and will count the driver's "Safe Miles". So long as the phone isn't used behind the wheel the driver will earn those miles for that trip - Use the phone and your miles are reset back to zero! Once the Driver reaches their goal, their sponsor will be notified to release their reward.
Positive reinforcement goes a long way, and this app is a great way to create it. Get it for your family today and stay safe!
A Moment of Remembrance
As you read this, I want you to do me a favor. Take out your phone and set an alarm for 11:40pm on April 14, 2015, which is the time the accident occurred. I know it is late on a Tuesday night, but it was soon after then in 2012, that the Kellenyis' phone rang with the news of the accident, a call every parent hopes they never get. Then just observe a moment of silence and say a prayer that your family is safe.
Share Your Story
Do you have any stories about distracted driving? Then share them with us in the comments. Let's continue to raise awareness and reduce the thousands of deaths and injuries caused every year by distracted driving!