TRG Driver, Duncan Ende, named National Spokesperson for STANDD
TRG PR: As the new national spokesperson for STANDD, what can you tell us about the organization?DUNCAN: STANDD was born out of the personal tragedy suffered by founder Diveeta Thompson when her teenage son Rodney lost his life while texting behind the wheel in October of 2008. STANDD is dedicated to educating people of all ages on the dangers of distracted driving, as well as keeping Rodney's legacy alive through promoting education and providing a scholarship to help kids attain a higher education, as Rodney would have if he had not had his accident.
TRG PR: Is it true that distracted driving has become as big an issue as drunk driving?
DUNCAN: Distracted driving is a huge issue! We all know how dangerous a drunk driver is, but the average driver doesn't think about how much can happen when your focus leaves the road ahead of you, even for a short time. At 70 mile an hour, a car is coving more than 100 feet per second; if a driver looks away for only a few seconds, whether to look at a text message, check directions, or change the cd in their stereo, the car will be more than a football field down the road when he or she looks back up! Anything could have happened up ahead; an animal could have entered the road in front of them, traffic could have suddenly stopped, a truck up ahead could have lost a tire. Even at 25 mph, your speed limit in a school zone, or what you might be doing in a tight residential street, your car is traveling more than 36 feet per second, which is more than enough to be caught by a car backing out of a blind driveway, or a child running out into the street.
TRG PR: Would you say that distracted driving is a growing issue?
DUNCAN: Obviously the fact has always been that you want to be focused on the road ahead and around you when behind the wheel, but today we are simply bombarded with more and more vying for our attention than ever before. In 1991 a phone in a car was a bit of a novelty, but today tens of millions of motorists have can talk on the phone in their cars, text, email, post about how awesome the song on the radio is to their Facebook page, etc. I'm a big fan of our modern technology, but the fact is that the driver's seat of a moving car is not an appropriate venue to be making the most of our cell phones.
TRG PR: How does a partnership with a race driver/team benefit the organization?
DUNCAN: Racing is a tremendous platform thanks to the power to directly connect to so many fans across the country, whether through personal interaction at the race track or through our TV and streaming video coverage and social media. Race fans are some of the most dedicated and invested fans of all sports fans.
TRG PR: Have you or anyone you know been affected by a distracted driving incident?
DUNCAN: Absolutely! Way back in 2005 I wrote off a rental car on my way to a race at Watkins Glen! I was having some trouble finding my way because my directions printed out off the internet did not seem to line up with the actual roads I was presented with and I was checking my phone to talk to my friend who lived in the area when I looked back up to see a stopped car in front of me with its left turn signal on. I slammed on the breaks and did my best to steer around the car, but it was too late and I rear ended it. Luckily no one was injured and the damage to the other car was not serious, but the Caprice I was in was definitely done for.
TRG PR: How can other people get involved and help the cause?
DUNCAN: First of all, if you can visit www.standd.org and make a donation, it would be huge for us, regardless of the size. Even if you can't donate though, visit the website and make your pledge to not drive distracted, in whatever form is right for you. Also, be proactive! If you are riding in a car and the driver, whether they are a friend, family member, coworker or whoever, starts texting, call them out on it! Whatever they are sending, it's not important enough to put your life in danger along with theirs, not to mention whoever might be around them on the road at the time.
Last Updated (Friday, 30 September 2011 22:10)