NEW YORK, Oct. 6, 2014 – Did you know that car crashes are the number one youth killer in the United States, with 390,000+ Americans injured or killed in distracted driving accidents each year? To raise awareness of this critical issue—and kick start its mission to drive down these staggering numbers –the Chaffin Luhana Foundation, a national organization founded by law partners Eric Chaffin and Roopal Luhana, who have dedicated their practice and philanthropy to Doing Good by Doing RightTM, is teaming up with five-time Paralympic medalist Stephani Victor to announce the launch of the Foundation’s first CLF DRiver AWareness (“DRAW”) Challenge.
The DRAW Challenge is designed to empower high school students to develop an effective, new message and awareness campaign that supports one of the Foundation’s missions—to drive down the staggering number of distracted driving accidents in the United States. Students, individually or in groups of two, along with an adult mentor, are encouraged to submit a video (up to 90 seconds long) that offers real-world solutions to combat distracted driving, either locally or nationwide. The submissions will be judged initially by social media voting, and then, ultimately, by a panel of nationally recognized judges and stakeholders. The winners—the 2015 CLF DRAW Challenge Scholars—will be announced in February 2015.
“The Chaffin Luhana Foundation is committed to promoting student awareness about the perils of distracted driving,” said Eric Chaffin, co-founder of the Chaffin Luhana Foundation. “Our hope is that this competition will engage students in a dialogue about the importance of safe driving, educate them and their peers about the dangers of distracted driving, and empower them to make a difference in their communities.”
Student submissions should offer an original, implementable solution to help engage people in a dialogue about distracted driving, educate them on the issue, and/or empower them to stop distracted driving. Criteria for winning include originality, real world practicality and vision or teamwork. All submissions should reflect at least one of the core values for anti-distracted driving, including engagement, education or empowerment, and be consistent with the Foundation’s motto.
The solution must also be implementable for no more than $10,000, and may include ideas on how to raise funds to grow the project. Students are further encouraged to seek out mentors in their communities, who will help guide them on their submission and work with them and the Foundation on implementing the winning concept. Ultimately, CLF will formally announce the winning concept in April 2015 during national Distracted Driving Awareness Month and kickoff implementation of the concept.
The CLF DRAW Scholars will further be recognized at an honorees’ dinner during a life-changing weekend of skiing, mentoring and workshops in Park City, Utah, on March 5-8, 2015. The winners will ski the slopes of Deer Valley with Victor and her Swiss-born husband and ski coach Marcel Kuonen. They will also enjoy an exclusive tour with Victor and Kuonen of the Olympic sites in Park City.
The CLF DRAW Scholars and mentors will further participate in the design and launch of the winning concept, through mentoring sessions with experts in charity, public relations and other benefactors. Students will gain valuable life skills, coaching, exposure to persons with disabilities, and insights into diverse potential careers, all among passionate professionals in a picturesque and historically significant ski town.
“[Victor] is the ideal spokesperson for the competition because she is a survivor of a distracted driving accident that took her legs,” explained Chaffin. “But most importantly, she overcame those injuries to become a world-class athlete. Her story highlights the dangers of distracted driving, but also demonstrates how adversity can be turned into triumph, which is what our Foundation aims to reward.”
“When people see me, they often conclude that becoming disabled could never happen to them,” said Victor. “Similarly, they believe they are immune to the consequences of driving distracted. How I share my story makes the consequences real and empowers students to take preventative action for themselves and educate others. Being of service has been the primary means for coping with my loss and I am grateful to serve in the role of CLF spokesperson.”
Airfare, hotel accommodations, lift tickets, meals and more will be included in the prize for the winning Scholars. Scholars will also be given scholarship prizes towards higher education.
The Foundation’s video submission portal will launch later this year. In the meantime, high school students and the general public can learn more about the contest at www.ChaffinLuhanaFoundation.org.
About the Chaffin Luhana Foundation
Law partners Eric Chaffin and Roopal Luhana, along with their families, established the Chaffin Luhana Foundation in 2010 to honor their humble roots and build upon the values of integrity and resilience instilled in them by their hardworking parents. A not-for-profit organization, the Foundation encourages the development of human potential and supports community empowerment through the endowment of funds to deserving recipients, the creation of community-based enrichment projects, and the support of important scientific research that meaningfully impacts the under-privileged and sick in society. For more information, please visit chaffinluhanafoundation.org.
About Stephani Victor
Stephani Victor, spokesperson for the Chaffin Luhana Foundation, was 26 when she lost her legs as the victim of a distracted driving accident. Despite the loss, she went on to become a Paralympic skier, winning gold in the Slalom at the 2006 Paralympics, the Overall World Cup title in 2007, three World Champion Gold Medals and one Silver Medal in Korea in 2009, and two silver medals in Giant Slalom and Slalom—as well as the gold in the Super Combined—in 2010 in Vancouver. Victor now works as a motivational speaker, helping those with physical challenges to realize their true strengths, while fighting to change public attitudes and perceptions about disability. For more information, please visit stephanivictor.com.
Distracted Driving Statistics:
What is Distracted Driving?
• Using a cellphone or smartphone
• Eating and drinking
• Talking to passengers
• Reading, including maps
• Using a navigation system
• Watching a video
• Adjusting a radio, CD player or MP3 player
• The number of people killed in distraction-affected crashes decreased slightly from 3,360 in 2011 to 3,328 in 2012. An estimated 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver; this was a 9% increase from the estimated 387,000 people injured in 2011.
• Each day in the U.S., more than nine people are killed and more than 1,060 people are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.
• Visual inattention is cited as a factor in 93% of all rear-end crashes.
• At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cellphones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010. (NOPUS)
• Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55 mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded. (2009, VTTI)
• Headset cellphone use is not substantially safer than handheld use. (VTTI)
• One quarter of teens respond to a text message once or more every time they drive. Twenty percent of teens and 10% of parents admit that they have extended, multi-message text conversations while driving. (UMTRI)
Exclusively focused on representing plaintiffs, especially in mass tort litigation, Eric Chaffin prides himself on providing unsurpassed professional legal services in pursuit of the specific goals of his clients and their families. Both his work and his cases have been featured in the national press, including on ABC’s Good Morning America.