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April 08, 2013

Orthopaedic Surgeons, Automakers and Local Officials Bring Distracted Driving Message to Jeffco High School Students

Events at four schools provide more than 3,700 teens with the tools to start and
the conversation on the dangers of distracted driving


DENVER—If you’re a teenager, how do you tell drivers—friends, parents or others—that they need to focus on the road?
Today, students learned just that, when the “Decide to Drive” campaign, sponsored by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (Auto Alliance), visited Conifer and Wheat Ridge high schools. Tomorrow, “Decide to Drive” events will be held at Arvada West and Evergreen High Schools. The two-day program is co-sponsored by Drive Smartand the Colorado Department of Transportation(CDOT).
The first event was held on Monday at 7:30 a.m. at Conifer High School, 10441 County Highway 73, in Conifer, Colo.; followed by the second event at 1:45 p.m. at Wheat Ridge High School, 9505 W. 32ndSt., Wheat Ridge, Colo. Events are scheduled for Tuesday, April 9, at 8:15 a.m. at Arvada West High School, 11595 Allendale Drive in Arvada, Colo.; and at 10:35 a.m., at Evergreen High School, 29300 Buffalo Park Rd., in Evergreen, Colo.
Each event includes an introductory video, skits by a team of Improv actors, and interviews with CDOT representatives; local school officials; Denver-area orthopaedic surgeons Jonathan Bravman, MD, Peter D’Ambrosia, MD, and Armando Vidal, MD; Colorado State Patrol Sergeant Mike Baker and Trooper Scott Lewis; Wheat Ridge Police and Wheat Ridge High School Resource Officer Barry Malloy; and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy and Conifer High School Resource Officer Eric Wilson. Students were asked to share their distracted driving views and experiences, and learned how to start the sometimes awkward and uncomfortable conversation about distracted driving with peers, parents and other drivers. In addition, they received tips and materials to help ensure that they, and anyone who drives, 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,” said AAOS President Joshua Jacobs, MD. “We want to prevent distracted driving injuries, including those young drivers, and keep them and their passengers safe and strong for life.”
“In 2011, distracted driving was a contributing factor in approximately 15 percent of careless driving crashes that resulted in an injury or fatality in Colorado,” said Darrell Lingk, director of transportation safety at the Colorado Department of Transportation. “We’re partnering with ‘Decide to Drive’ to reiterate the dangers and to continue education that Colorado law bans cell phone use while driving for teens under the age of 18 and prohibits texting for drivers 18 and older.”
Decide to Drive – Jeffco Public Schools
Page Two

“Our Jeffco teens are driving in our community every day and we want them to understand it’s a privilege, not a right, to have a driver’s license,” said Jeffco Schools Superintendent Cindy Stevenson.  “We welcome this program into our schools to show our students the dangerous realities of distracted driving.  We want to inspire them to take action with their peers and parents who drive distracted to keep our communities safe.”
In 2011, approximately 387,000 Americans were injured in distracted driving-related crashes, and there were an estimated 3,331 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 that was distributed to 10,000 5thand 6thgrade classrooms across the country; 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.”


Decide to Drive
Auto Alliance
Colorado Department of Transportation
Drive Smart
Jeffco Public Schools
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