ABOUT US

We are the Coalition Against Distracted Driving. We are a public interest organization.

Our mission is to save lives and prevent injuries by reducing all forms of distracted driving, including (but not only) distractions caused by smartphones and smartwatches.

Any local, state, or federal governmental entity in the United States that supports our lawsuit may apply to join the coalition.

Stephen Joseph is the coalition's founder, chairman, and counsel. He is a public interest litigation attorney and campaigner. He is fully committed to doing his best to save lives.

The Safe Roads Alliance (“SRA”) is a member of the coalition. SRA was formed in 2006. It is a Massachusetts non-profit corporation. Its core mission is to educating the public about safe driving. It provides drivers with access to advanced driver training that surpasses requirements to obtain a license. It has developed and works with 22 states on the Parent’s Supervised Driving Program, with sponsorship by State Farm Insurance, to guide the parents of teens who obtain a Learner’s Permit.

The President of SRA is Emily Stein. Her father Howard Stein was killed by a 17-year-old who was distracted while driving.

Howard Mauer is a member of the coalition on his own behalf and on behalf of his deceased daughter Deanna Mauer.

This is how Deanna died. In 2011, Jorene Nicolas was texting on her smartphone. She allegedly sent eight text messages, received six text messages, and made two phones calls in the 15-minute period before she crashed at between 85 and 91 miles per hour into the back of Deanna's vehicle, which was stopped in traffic on the 405 freeway in Orange County, California. Deanna was killed instantly. She was 23- years-old. Jorene Nicolas was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to six years in prison.

 

Stephen Joseph's background

The Ban Trans Fat campaign

  • Stephen Joseph is best known for conceiving, launching, and leading the successful national Ban Trans Fat campaign.
  • Trans fat created by the partial hydrogenation of vegetable oils is a dangerous product that causes heart attacks, diabetes, and other adverse health effects.
  • He sued Kraft Foods and persuaded the company to eliminate trans fat in Oreos. As a result, Kraft decided to remove trans fat from ALL of its products.
  • The Oreo lawsuit and Kraft’s response received enormous media coverage. Numerous other food companies then announced that they would remove trans fat from their products. There was a domino effect.
  • The Oreo lawsuit prompted the White House to instruct the FDA to address the trans fat problem without delay. The FDA immediately issued a rule requiring a trans fat line on Nutrition Facts labels, which you can now see on all packaged food products.
  • He sued McDonald’s regarding trans fat in a nationwide class action. The case settled for $10.5 million, including $7 million which was given to the American Heart Association for the fight to eliminate trans fat.
  • McDonald’s switched to trans fat-free oil after the lawsuit.
  • He served on the American Heart Association (AHA) trans fat panel with the AHA CEO, COO, and the nation’s top nutritionists.
  • He created “America’s first trans fat free city” in Tiburon, CA to prove that trans fat could be eliminated in restaurant cooking oils. It was a great success.
  • Having observed the success in Tiburon, the New York City Department of Health asked him to help make New York City trans fat free. He helped the city achieve that goal. The city adopted an ordinance banning trans fat. Philadelphia followed suit.
  • He lobbied hard for a statewide trans fat ban in California similar to the one in New York City, which was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger.
  • He conducted a successful zero trans fat cooking oil contest to assist the restaurant industry in making the transition to trans fat-free oils. He worked with major corporations, including ACH, Bunge, Cargill, ConAgra, and others who agreed to participate. The contest was filmed by CBS 60 Minutes (but has not yet aired).
  • In June 2015, the FDA announced that it is banning partially hydrogenated oil (i.e. trans fat) completely as it is now deemed unfit for human consumption, meaning that the Ban Trans Fats campaign has been a total success.
  • The campaign has already prevented hundreds of thousands of heart attacks and saved countless lives.
  • He won the Levien Award from zerobreastcancer.org for his public health activism.
  • (Credit also to Mike Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest who worked on different but parallel projects to help bring about the elimination of trans fat.)

LinkedIn profile

Stephen Joseph's LinkedIn career profile, which includes information about his other campaigns, can be accessed by clicking on the icon below.