Event provides teens and parents with the tools to start and continue
the conversation on the dangers of distracted driving
BALTIMORE, Md.—If you’re a teenager, how do you tell drivers—friends, parents or others—that they need to focus on the road?
Tonight, nearly 200 students and their parents 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), came to Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School, at 3300 Old Court Rd., in Baltimore.
The event – which began at 7:30 p.m. in the Mintzes Theatre – included an introductory video, skits by a Chicago Improv troupe, and an interview with AAOS member Andrew N. Pollak, MD,professor of orthopaedics and head of the University of Maryland School Of Medicine’s Division of Orthopaedic Traumatology, and associate director of trauma and chief of orthopaedics at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center.
Students were encouraged 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 Dr. Pollak. We want to prevent distracted driving injuries, especially among young drivers, and keep them and their passengers safe and strong for life.”
In 2011, approximately 378,000 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
Andrew N. Pollak, MD
For more information on bone and joint health, visit orthoinfo.org
More information about the AAOS