National Safety Campaign Targets Distracted Pedestrians and Drivers as the New School Year Begins

The Richmond Ambulance Authority (RAA) unveiled the national launch of its ‘Crossing Alert’ campaign rap PSA on YouTube to get pedestrians in Richmond, and throughout the nation, to stop, look and listen before crossing the street:  This public safety announcement, featuring a cameo appearance by Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones, also targets distracted drivers in an effort to reduce the ever growing number of pedestrians and cyclists hit by cars while crossing the street.
“A pedestrian is hit by a vehicle once every three or four days here in Richmond,” said Chip Decker, CEO of the Richmond Ambulance Authority.  “This is an alarming statistic and recent national news articles indicate that incidents involving distracted pedestrians and drivers are on the rise throughout the United States.  We hope this YouTube PSA will draw widespread attention to this problem and reduce the number of pedestrians killed or injured while crossing the street.”

Crossing Alert was funded with a $5,000 FEMA grant and the buzz surrounding the campaign began days before filming even started.  Sean Burton, an RAA reimbursement systems analyst and aspiring songwriter, wrote the Crossing Alert rap anthem and hopes this safety message spreads rapidly through social media.

“I was amazed to learn how many people get hit by cars on a regular basis,” said Burton.  “It’s very important that this message gets out there because it’s not talked about a lot.  People need to be aware of how dangerous it can be to cross the street and pay attention.”

Rob Lawrence, chief operating officer for the Richmond Ambulance Authority, added: “The reasons so many pedestrians are being hit are multifactorial but there are hints that both drivers and pedestrians are distracted by their smartphones – whether texting, talking, gaming or listening to music – and this inattentive behavior is very dangerous.   Our Crossing Alert campaign was born as a ‘pedestrian countermeasure’ and we hope to see a decrease in pedestrian incidents in the months and years ahead. We have even created a small ‘street smart’ card to pass out to pedestrians providing top tips on safe street crossing, and the template for this card is freely available for other organizations that wish to adopt this program. All they have to do is contact me directly.”

Upon learning of the Crossing Alert campaign, AAA Mid-Atlantic issued the following statement:  “AAA salutes Richmond Ambulance Authority for their continued and strong outreach efforts as a member of the transportation safety advocacy community.  We have all seen the alarming videos, most often on YouTube, of folks walking off of the edge of train platforms onto live train tracks, into barriers or fountains, down steps and even worse into oncoming traffic, thus using YouTube to reach out to the same audience is a positive way to convey this important message,” said Martha Mitchell Meade, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Public Safety and EMS agencies throughout the nation are encouraged to join this Crossing Alert campaign and use the RAA rap PSA to spread this important safety message in their communities.  EMS World, a leading journal in EMS, is launching the PSA on their website today to coincide with RAA’s national launch as is the American Ambulance Association (AAA) with hopefully many more to follow.
Creating powerful safety campaigns is nothing new to the Richmond Ambulance Authority.  In the spring of 2011, RAA and partners launched the Rider Alert motorcycle safety campaign ( in Virginia which has since spread to many states across the nation and recently launched in Sweden.

RAA Crossing Alert Campaign Rap PSA Team
Lyricist/vocalist: Sean Burton, reimbursement systems analyst for the Richmond Ambulance Authority and CEO of MadMax Creations, is a lyricist and believes music is a voice to teach and inspire love and hope.  What started off as poetry grew into creating songs of all types for other artists with a local record label in 2002.  During this four-year stint, Sean created his own style of writing which is a fusion of R&B, alternative and pop music.  In 2006, he started writing for Del Travar and the outcome so far has been successful with an Extended Play (EP) released in early 2012 called “At The End Of The Day” in which Sean wrote five of the seven songs on the album.  Sean is currently writing songs for Del’s full Long Play (LP) to be released in early 2013.

Composer/producer: Reginald “Regg” Smith is a music producer/songwriter from Coatesville, VA and CEO of Areginal Music.  He grew up with musical inspiration at a young age from watching his older brother rap, DJ, and create music.  To date, Regg has produced, written music, and worked with major artists such as 50 Cent, Mario, Trey Songz and various independent artists, local acts and aspiring musicians.  In 2011, Regg really began to show his musical diversity by producing a vast amount of alternative and pop records as well as actually producing the entire Del Travar – At The End of The Day EP, and penning two songs on the release.   He believes that music has no limitations or racial boundaries and is a God given gift that connects with people’s everyday lives and emotions.

Videographer: Carlton Kotalo is the owner/operator of Spiderbite Studios: Digital Media & Design which was founded in Richmond, VA in 2000. Created to help musicians and other artists branch out into the digital world, and working on everything from Photography to Videography, Production and Graphics Design, Spiderbite Studios continues to help artists explore other avenues of bringing their creativity to the world.

Choreographer: Graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University, Deandra Clarke began her professional career by creating 4 The Streetz Choreography in 2003.  This professional dance company served as a way for dancers in the area to fulfill their dreams without having to leave Richmond for places such as New York or Los Angeles, providing them with similar opportunities to build their dance resumes, gain experience in the dance industry and help prepare them when they do decide to make that move into a professional dance career. She is now continuing her mission by focusing her attention on her newest projects, MOVE! Dance Workshops, a traveling dance workshop that makes stops all over the country, providing hip hop and contemporary masterclasses for aspiring and semi-professional dancers from established choreographers in the industry.  Deandra is also co-owner of DE Management Company, where she co-manages hip hop dance crews and dancers. In addition to her many business ventures, she still choreographs and dances regularly for numerous independent artists along the east coast and teaches weekly hip hop classes at two dance studios in her hometown.