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Teen Health Author: Staff Editor Last Updated: Nov 29, 2012 - 7:11:02 AM



Distracted Driving Message to U.S. High Schools

By Staff Editor
Oct 5, 2012 - 11:35:07 AM



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(HealthNewsDigest.com) - ROSEMONT, Ill.—If you’re a teenager, how do you tell drivers—friends, parents or others—that they need to focus on the road?

Beginning this fall, the “Decide to Drive” campaign, a partnership between the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (Auto Alliance), will visit U.S. high schools across the country to educate students, and to provide them with the necessary tools to start and continue the life-and-limb-saving conversation on the dangers of distracted driving.

Over the next several months, “Decide to Drive” will visit high schools in the Chicago, Detroit, Phoenix, Portland, Ore., and Greenville, S.C., areas. The program includes an introductory video, skits, and interviews with an orthopaedic surgeon, local police, and school officials. Students will be asked to share their distracted driving views and experiences, and learn how to start the sometimes awkward and uncomfortable conversation about distracted driving with peers, parents and other drivers. In addition, they will receive tips and materials to help ensure that they—and anyone who drives them—keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

“Orthopaedic surgeons are the medical doctors who put bones and limbs back together after road crashes and trauma. We want to prevent distracted driving injuries, especially among young drivers, and keep them and their passengers safe and strong for life,” said AAOS spokesperson Leon S. Benson, MD who will address students at Niles North High School in Skokie, Ill., this morning.

In 2010, approximately 415,000 Americans were injured in distracted driving-related crashes, and there were an estimated 3,092 fatalities in distraction-affected crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The results of an AAOS-Harris Interactive survey showed that 94 percent of drivers believe that distracted driving is a problem in the U.S. while 89 percent believe it is a problem within their own communities.

Since 2009, orthopaedic surgeons and automakers have urged drivers to “decide to drive” behind the wheel and to avoid texting, eating, talking on the phone and to passengers, and other distractions while driving. The award-winning awareness/prevention campaign includes an interactive website, print, television and radio public service advertisements, an elementary school educational curriculum, and active social media outreach.

“For young drivers—or any driver, for that matter—their first priority is the safe operation of their car or truck which means eyes on the road and hands on the wheel,” said Auto Alliance Vice President of Safety Robert Strassburger. “Going out into schools and talking to students is one of the best ways we can spread that message. Our efforts also help to empower parents to communicate our “Decide to Drive” guidance forward even further.”

Distracted driving educational tools and resources, are available at DecidetoDrive.org.

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