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PETER AINSWORTH DOES HIS PART TO END DISTRACTED DRIVING

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Personal injury law primarily deals in aftermaths. In the wake of a tragedy, it often becomes the solemn charge of the attorney to shepherd a client through the process of picking up the pieces. As passionate attorneys and passionate people, it would seem only natural for the MBBB team to use their time outside the office to advocate for the causes that relate to such tragedies.

For Attorney Peter Ainsworth, that cause is distracted driving, and the organization is End Distracted Driving (EndDD). According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, drivers look away from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds while sending a text. That means, if you send a text while driving at 55 miles per hour, you will have driven the length of a football field without looking at the road. In 2009, an estimated 5,500 people were killed in accidents involving distracted drivers, and studies suggest that any operation of a mobile device—hands-free or hand-held—increases your crash risk by four times.

Sponsored by the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation, an organization honoring the life of Casey Feldman, who lost her life at the age of 21 after being struck by a distracted driver, EndDD strives to “preserve life and promote safety on a large scale through advocacy, education, and action.” Their mission statement continues, “It is our hope that we can prevent families and friends from suffering the loss of a loved one because of distracted driving.”

This is where Mr. Ainsworth came in, along with nearly 100 other members of The Injury Board. Mr. Ainsworth became involved with EndDD in April of this year when he gave a presentation to students at Holliston High School in honor of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Mr. Ainsworth explains that, because he is concerned primarily with the aftermath of tragedies such as Casey’s in his everyday work, it just makes sense to work toward the prevention of these tragedies in the first place.

The point of the presentation, however, was not to reprimand students for their habits of distracted driving. Rather, Mr. Ainsworth and EndDD emphasized that this is not a “teen problem” and that new drivers are uniquely suited to making a difference. Mr. Ainsworth encouraged the students to take charge: to talk to their families, to talk to their friends, to spread the word about the dangers of distracted driving, how quickly a life can be lost, and how easy it is to make a change. The presentation, Mr. Ainsworth believes, hit home.

“I think it was a very sobering experience for the students,” he says. “The daunting statistics combined with the very moving personal accounts of people who have lost loved ones due to distracted driving really showed them that this is a major problem with deadly consequences.”

Mr. Ainsworth hopes that, at the very least, he opened up an important dialogue for his audience. “I hope that they did go home and discuss the issue with family members. If each presenter is able to reach even one student and avert a single tragedy it would be an incredible thing,” he notes. “While it’s impossible to determine if any accidents have been prevented, from my perspective I’m sure the presentation prompted people to change their driving habits. I know I’ve changed mine! “

Visit enddd.org to learn more about the issue of distracted driving and how you can get involved.

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