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Injury attorneys at Finkelstein & Partners often see firsthand the results of serious accidents caused by drivers who are texting and not paying attention to the road. That’s one of the reasons why the staff at the Newburgh law firm decided to take a proactive approach and launch a campaign in 2011 called “Commit to Quit.”

Research has shown that texting and driving:

  • Slows brake reaction speed by 18 percent
  • Makes drivers 23 times more likely to crash
  • Is the same as driving blind for five seconds at a time

Finkelstein & Partners has put together public service announcements for local radio stations in the Hudson Valley area to raise awareness. Staff members have also visited schools to talk to students directly about the dangers of texting and driving.

“What we decided to do was focus on the group of people who were most likely to text and drive, which was young people,” says Danielle Mackey, Marketing Director for Finkelstein & Partners. “Young people are also the most inexperienced drivers. Therefore, they are who we consider to be the highest risk of being involved in a texting-related collision.”

More than 70 percent of teens and young people say they have composed, sent or read a text message while driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And 10 percent of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as “distracted” at the time of the accident.

Instead of lecturing about the problem, Finkelstein & Partners tries to give young people different options, such as simply not texting and driving, asking fellow drivers not to engage in the practice, and not sending texts to friends who are known to be behind the wheel.

The firm also tells teens that it’s okay to remind parents to set an example by not texting and driving, especially since it’s now against the law in New York.

“I really can’t say that we’ve seen a drop in texting cases. People are still actively engaging in it despite it being illegal,” says Managing Partner Andrew G. Finkelstein. “But we still are going to continue to spread awareness and work with that young audience to hopefully prevent them from doing it.”

Finkelstein & Partners targets teens that just got their learner’s permit or driver’s license because they seem to be the most vulnerable. “That’s the ideal age range,” Mackey says.

April and May are the most critical times to spread the message, because those months are typically prom season and the potential use of alcohol can augment the problem. Still, considering that an estimated 660,000 drivers in America use their cell phones or manipulate electronic devices while driving, it’s a concern that needs year-round attention.

Finkelstein & Partners also reminds parents that there are several apps, such as Textecution, tXtBlocker, AT&T DriveMode, and DriveSafe.ly, that help to prevent texting and driving.

“Commit to Quit” is just one of various public service initiatives Finkelstein & Partners has developed in local communities. The firm has also worked with the Hudson Valley SPCA, Food Bank of the Hudson Valley, and Habitat for Humanity, among other groups, to stay active in the community.

“All of our employees are given the opportunity to volunteer during work time,” Finkelstein says. “We definitely try to make a difference.” 

Finkelstein & Partners
1279 Rte. 300
P.O. Box 1111
Newburgh, NY, 12551
845-562-0203; www.lawampm.com

 


Finkelstein & Partners was founded in 1959 by Howard S. Finkelstein and is devoted to giving back to the community. Finkelstein & Partners has grown from one office in Newburgh, New York, to multiple offices with a staff of more than 30 attorneys and 50 council attorneys. Visit www.lawampm.com or call 845-562-0203.

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