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April 01, 2016

While traffic can be a daily battle, distractions behind the wheel don’t have to be

Orthopaedic surgeons and automakers challenge drivers to be distraction-free

ROSEMONT, Ill.—Distractions take place in many forms and many places. But, in recognition of April as a Distracted Driving Awareness Month, Decide to Drive—a distracted driving awareness program from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (Auto Alliance)—challenges all drivers to be distraction-free while behind the wheel.
 
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2014, there were approximately 431,000 people injured in distracted driving-related crashes in the U.S.
 
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.
 
Last summer, Decide to Drive released a lighthearted video series, called #NoSmallDistractions, showing how everyday things can be big distractions to all drivers regardless of age and expertise. 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. This year, the videos were refined into public service announcements and distributed to more than 1,300 television stations nationwide in advance of Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The video series also made an appearance at the March 2016 Automotive Forum in New York City.
 
“While our challenge to drivers is that they drive distraction-free for the next 30 days, we’d rather all drivers decide to drive every day they get in the car to keep their bones and limbs intact,” says AAOS President Gerald R. Williams, MD.
 
“Automakers have been working to help drives keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel since we developed the first set of driver focus guidelines more than a decade ago,” said Gloria Bergquist, Auto Alliance vice president of communications and public affairs. “It’s good to see programs such as this one build on our early steps and make a difference. The Decide to Drive initiative has taken a multi-pronged approach to reaching drivers of all ages and stressing the importance to reducing distractions of all kinds while on the road.”
 
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 highest number of motor vehicle crash fatalities. Additional Decide to Drive initiatives will be targeted to drivers in the 10 highest ranking cities on this list: New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Miami, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, San Bernardino, and Washington, D.C., respectively.
 
In addition to DecidetoDrive.org, 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 six years of advocating for distracted driving awareness.
 
For more information, visit DecidetoDrive.org. Join the distracted driving conversation with #NoSmallDistractions and #DecidetoDrive on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
 
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Decide to Drive
Auto Alliance
More information about the AAOS
 
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