Let’s drive home message of distracted driving’s dangers

Sun This Week, by Don HeinzmanFebruary 02, 2015

Sun This Week, by Don Heinzman

A movement is underway nationwide to increase awareness of distracted driving and eventually make it illegal to talk on a cellphone while driving.

In Minnesota, Lakeville attorney Art Kosieradzki hopes to make students so aware of the dangers of distracted driving that they’ll organize a campaign against it, just as a group of students did decades ago when they formed Students Against Driving Drunk.

Student groups in Lakeville’s North and South high schools are meeting monthly to raise student awareness of distracted driving’s consequences. The Lakeville Police Department also is involved.

Kosieradzki brought the distracted driving message home to Lakeville students last year when he had them hear from parents who lost their son instantly one summer day in 2013.

Monticello High School graduate Phillip LaVallee, 19, was an accomplished cross-country runner and track star attending South Dakota State University on a sports scholarship. He was running on the side of a county road in Otsego Aug. 8, 2013, when a van crossed the center line of the road and hit him from behind.

“Just like that he was gone,” his mother, Amy LaVallee, told the hushed group of health class students. “Losing a child is the worst thing you can go through.”

The driver, an Albertville woman, has been charged with criminal vehicular homicide. Investigators said they found no skid marks on the road and phone records reportedly show the driver received a call at the time of the accident.

Amy and Greg LaVallee have told their story about the loss of their son to students at Monticello High School. They also hope to talk about the dangers of distracted driving to students in neighboring high schools.

Greg LaVallee hopes this effort to increase awareness of distracted driving will cause the Minnesota Legislature to ban talking on a cellphone while driving. He’s found that legislators are reluctant to do it because they believe there is not enough support for it.
Kosieradzki and his law firm, SiebenCarey, are preparing a “No Distracted Driving” petition for students to sign, with a special effort in April, which is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Kosieradzki told Thisweek Newspapers reporter Laura Adelmann that distracted driving isn’t just about cellphone use. It includes eating, grooming, drinking, smoking, adjusting the radio and reaching for objects in the car.

The movement to stop distracted driving has gone national, thanks to the leadership of Joel Feldman, who lost his daughter Casey, 21, a Pennsylvania native, in an accident in New Jersey involving a distracted driver.

Already 225,000 people from 41 states are mobilizing to bring about stricter penalties for distracted driving, according to End Distracted Driving. The Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety reported in 2014 that distracted driving is responsible for at least 70 deaths and 350 serious injuries a year in the state. According to the National Safety Council, 22 percent of traffic accidents are caused by distracted drivers.

Talking and driving both demand thought, and some research is showing that a driver talking on the phone delays braking and has difficulty seeing traffic. The National Safety Transportation Board seeks to ban all use of mobile devices, including use of hands-free devices, by drivers.

Amy LaVallee is hoping the Minnesota Legislature will pass legislation requiring stricter penalties for those distracted drivers who cause accidents, just as it did for drunken drivers, such as losing their license.

Client Reviews

out of 13 reviews
Darren Ness

Very professional and courteous staff with a drive to make you comfortable in every aspect of their service.

Cynthia Vermeulen

I have worked on cases with Sue Holden of Sieben Carey for over 20 years. As a trial attorney, I feel confident referring my clients with personal injury issues to Sue, as I know she and her team take the time to listen to their clients, explore and explain their options, monitor their recovery with compassion and persistently advocate for them in negotiations and in court. Sue has the utmost credibility in the legal community and an ability to resolve complex problems. She is highly respected by the courts as well as attorneys for her competence and steadfast dedication to helping injured people. I recommend working with Sue Holden and her team without reservation.

Steve Erwin

I have referred several personal injury and wrongful death cases to Susan Holden for handling. Susan has been very professional in her approach to these cases and has obtained settlements on behalf of the clients. She also is very courteous, knowledgeable, and has a great "bedside manner" in dealing with her clients. Several clients have thanked me for referring their cases to Susan.

Roberta Jordan

My family was referred to Susan Holden at SiebenCarey by our hometown attorney in a wrongful death case.  She was very accommodating to us and very approachable. Staff was top notch and doggedly pursued two different insurance companies to accomplish an outcome far beyond anything we'd anticipated. We could not have gotten results close to what she achieved without her. We will be forever appreciative. 

Jesse Bukal

In need of a personal injury attorney? Well you're if you're reading this you're in the right place. You'd be hard pressed to find more competent attorneys than the ones here at SiebenCarey.

They took my case to trial and an amazing job presenting the facts and fighting for my best interests! Three years ago I was unsure of what my future would bring; now that it's over I can rest a bit easier. With SiebenCarey as my counsel, I believe I had the absolute BEST representation a person could've asked for. I knew that I wanted the absolute best representation when searching for an attorney to handle my case and I most definitely received it.

If you need a personal injury attorney, look no further. Can't recommend highly enough.

St. Paul Local 12

Thanks for everything, your experience paid off BIG!!!

Carly R.

My boyfriend was hit by a car and while all the attorneys he talked to said he didn't have much chance of a case, SiebenCarey took him on and gave him a fighting chance. He's still recovering, but SiebenCarey is making it a lot easier.

Daniel Ball

Really good professionals, they solved my issues in no time using the most impressive and advanced approach. Really good, highly recommended.

Renee Goneau

SiebenCarey is a great personal injury law firm that really cares about their clients.  Highly recommend!

Jenna L. at Insider Pages

I have had nothing but great service with these guys. They are very knowledgable on a wide variety of subjects and topic. They will help you with any case you need!

Eric Petoletti

Even though I was states away and could only talk on the phone, they listened and did everything that they could to win my case. I felt like I was a part of the family.

Jazz Smith

SiebenCarey is a professional and dedicated law organization that help accident victim.

Morgan Petoletti

My husband had an amazing experience with this firm. They listened and took the time to understand our case.

Award Winning Know Your Rights Attorneys

Certified Civil Trial Law Specialists

8 Certified Civil Trial Law Specialists, Minnesota Bar Association
3 Board Certified Trial Advocates, National Board of Trial Advocacy.

2021 Super Lawyers

Also awarded in:
2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008

2022 Best Lawyers in America©

Also awarded in:
2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008.

2022 U.S. News Best Law Firms

Also awarded in:
2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010

Attorneys of the Year

5 of our attorneys have been recognized as Attorneys of the Year