Rosemont, IL – The statistics on distracted driving are startling. The U.S. Department of Transportation statistics indicate that in 2008 nearly 6,000 people died and more than half a million were injured in crashes associated with driver distractions of all types. The AAA projects 34.9 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this upcoming weekend, many of whom will drive to their destination of choice.
Orthopaedic surgeons are the medical doctors who put bones and limbs back together after traumatic injuries, including road crashes and every day, members of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the Orthopaedic Trauma Association (OTA) see the traumatic injuries caused by distracted drivers. In an effort to keep drivers safe on the roads, and to ensure they get to their destinations in one piece, AAOS and OTA recently launched a national campaign to reduce the incidence of distracted driving.
“Orthopaedic surgeons have a simple message – driving is one of the most important things you do all day – so decide to drive – and give it your full attention,” said AAOS President Daniel J. Berry, MD. Kick off your summer with a new, safety-focused habit of driving and consciously drive this holiday weekend. Follow the AAOS’s “Wreck-less” checklist:
- Adjust seats, head rests, vehicle controls and mirrors, and fasten your seat belt before you drive;
- Enter the destination address into your GPS system OR review maps and written directions before you drive;
- Do not eat or drink while driving, and move all potential distractions such as reading materials, cell phones, etc., away from easy reach—the point is to keep your eyes on the road; and
- If there is a distraction that needs your immediate attention, we encourage you to first stop your vehicle in a safe area.
The AAOS and OTA invite all drivers — and passengers — to share your stories of distracted driving at www.decidetodrive.org and to speak up when someone isn’t giving driving their full attention.
In March of 2011, the AAOS commissioned a Harris Interactive Survey, the findings of which revealed how American drivers feel about multitasking, their own behavior behind the wheel as well as the choices of other drivers.
- Of the more than 1,500 driving-age adults surveyed, NONE of them reported their own driving as unsafe. In fact, 83 percent claim to drive safely. And, yet they believe only 10 percent of other drivers drive “safely.”
- Although drivers are aware that distracted driving compromises the ability of others to drive safely, one in five (20%) agree that they are a good enough driver that they can do other things while driving without compromising [their driving ability].
- Among those who self-reported distracted driving behaviors overall, 30-44 year olds seem to be the worst offenders having more likely admitted to eating or drinking, talking on a cell phone or reaching in the back seat of the car while driving.
- Many drivers that have experienced a near-accident due to their own distracted driving behavior say they will continue the behavior that caused them to swerve or slam on the breaks to avoid an accident.
- The results showed that 94 percent of drivers in America believe that distracted driving is a problem in the U.S. and 89 percent believe it is a problem within their own communities.
“Our goal is to get all drivers who are used to ’getting away with it‘ to learn now – not later the hard way – that it isn’t worth it,” said Andrew N. Pollak, MD, president of the OTA.
More about the Decide to Drive campaign
This national initiative, made possible, in part, with support from the Auto Alliance, encourages drivers to “decide to drive” and includes a multimedia public service advertising (PSA) campaign, interactive Web site – decidetodrive.org, a school curriculum, print public service poster contest and materials to help surgeons talk to all their patients about distracted driving.
For more information, contact: