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August 19, 2015

Distractions behind the wheel may not be as small as they seem

Orthopaedic surgeons and automakers release light-hearted video series on a serious topic

ROSEMONT, Ill.—Distractions behind the wheel can be larger-than-life. Decide to Drive—the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers’ (Auto Alliance) distracted driving awareness program—released a lighthearted video series showing how everyday things can be big distractions to all drivers regardless of age and expertise.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2013, there were approximately 424,000 people injured in distracted driving-related crashes in the U.S.—an increase from the 421,000 people injured in 2012.
“The intent of Decide to Drive is to increase awareness about the risks of distracted driving because we’d rather all drivers decide to drive each time they get in the car to keep their bones and limbs intact,” says orthopaedic trauma surgeon and AAOS spokesperson Douglas Dirschl, MD. “These videos humorously but effectively highlight that sometimes even the smallest everyday activities can be big distractions behind the wheel.”
Each :30 video centers on one very big distraction—oversized electric razor, steaming cup of coffee, lipstick, food and smartphone—to illustrate the ridiculousness of different types of real life and potentially serious acts while behind the wheel.
In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report listing the 50 most populous metropolitan areas in the United States with the overall number of motor vehicle crash fatalities:
Metropolitan statistical area/Major cities Overall† Ages 15–24 yrs
No. Rate§ No. Rate
U.S. total 34,485 11.1 7,451 17.3
Metropolitan statistical area total (n = 50) 13,696 8.2 2,903 13
Major city total (n = 63) 3,985 7.9 769 10.9
New York – Northern New Jersey – Long Island, New York – New Jersey – Pennsylvania 986 5.1 179 7.3
Los Angeles – Long Beach – Santa Ana, California 848 6.6 173 9.5
Houston – Sugar Land – Baytown, Texas 722 12.6 174 21.5
Miami – Fort Lauderdale – Pompano Beach, Florida 634 11.1 124 18
Dallas – Fort Worth – Arlington, Texas 611 9.8 135 15.6
Chicago – Naperville – Joliet, Illinois – Indiana – Wisconsin 565 5.9 116 8.8
Atlanta – Sandy Springs – Marietta, Georgia 564 10.7 94 12.9
Philadelphia – Camden – Wilmington, Pennsylvania – New Jersey – Delaware – Maryland 444 7.3 92 11.2
Riverside – San Bernardino – Ontario, California 434 10.6 110 16.8
Washington – Arlington – Alexandria, DC – Virginia – Maryland – West Virginia 408 7.5 105 14.4
* Per 100,000 population. Numbers and rates reflect decedent place of residence, not place of occurrence. † Five fatalities were excluded from metropolitan statistical area and major city tabulations because of undocumented decedent age. § Age-adjusted to the year 2000 United States standard population. SOURCE:
Additional Decide to Drive initiatives will be targeted to the 10 highest ranking cities on this list.
Since 2009, orthopaedic surgeons and automakers have urged drivers to “Decide to Drive” behind the wheel by avoiding texting, eating, talking on a hand-held phone, applying make-up and other distractions while driving. Orthopaedic surgeons not only treat, but also want to prevent injuries that can result from distracted driving-related crashes.
Wreck-less checklist: Nine ways to avoid distracted driving
  1. Put on any accessories you may need, such as sunglasses or BluetoothTM ear pieces.
  2. Adjust seats, head rests, vehicle controls and mirrors. And don’t forget to fasten your seat belt.
  3. Move all reading material away from easy reach. Pre-load mp3 playlist or CDs and adjust volume level so your music does not mask the sounds of emergency sirens.
  4. Enter an address in the navigation system before you depart or review maps and written directions before you drive.
  5. Stop your car in a safe area before attending to a child, a pet or having an involved discussion.
  6. Driving is not the time to apply makeup, groom, polish your nails, or change clothing.
  7. Do not eat or drink while driving.
  8. Do not text, make a call, take selfies or make vlogs while driving. Just put the phone away.
  9. At all times while operating your vehicle, keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
In addition to, the awareness and prevention campaign includes print, television and radio public service advertisements; elementary school and high school educational curriculums; and active social media outreach. This year, the campaign celebrates five years of advocating for distracted driving awareness.
For more information, visit Join the distracted driving conversation with #NoSmallDistractions and #DecidetoDrive on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Decide to Drive
Auto Alliance
More information about the AAOS
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