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September 09, 2013

New High School Curriculum Encourages Students to “Decide to Drive,” Warns Against Distracted Driving

National program culminates with student advocacy magazine contest

Rosemont, Ill.--How do you encourage teens to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road while driving? Make them advocates!

This fall, “Decide to Drive,” the award-winning distracted driving prevention programsponsored by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (Auto Alliance), hopes to do just that through the “Decide to Drive: A Student Advocacy Program,” a high school distracted driving curriculum. The curriculum includes a contest through which the sponsors invite teams of three or four teens to create their own national student advocacy magazines.

The new program, created and distributed by Scholastic with the Academy and the Alliance, will be sent to approximately 200,000 high school teachers nationwide this month. Through the curriculum, U.S. high school students will:
  • assess, observe and record distracted driving in their own communities;
  • role play how to start a conversation with a driver about their distracted driving behaviors;
  • research local laws and distracted driving incidences; and
  • examine and use national statistics on distracted driving.
More details about the “Decide to Drive” Teen Contest
The program culminates with the “Decide to Drive” student magazine contest in November 2013.  Three or four-person student teams will win first, second and third place cash prizes ($4,000 for the first place team, $2,000 for the second place team, and $1,000 for the third place team) for magazines with eye-catching visuals, thought-provoking statistics, and persuasive tips/essays on preventing distracted driving. In addition, the winning team’s teacher will win technology for his or her classroom. The contest is open to students in grades 9—12 who attend public or accredited public or private schools or home schools in the U.S. (50 states and the District of Columbia).
“Decide to Drive”
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 other distractions while driving. The awareness/prevention campaign includes an interactive website; print, television and radio public service advertisements; an elementary school curriculum; active social media outreach and more.

“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 of young drivers, and keep them and their passengers safe and strong for life. 
This program has the potential to turn teen drivers and passengers into empowered advocates for driver safety.”
As part of “Decide to Drive: A Student Advocacy Program,” educators are encouraged to invite an orthopaedic surgeon to visit their classroom(s) as an expert spokesperson in support of distracted driving awareness and the “Decide to Drive” program.


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