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Published 9/1/2011
Lauren Pearson

Commit yourself to the cause

Ten ways you could be a Decide to Drive campaign advocate

The July issue of AAOS Now included information on how AAOS members could use the Academy’s latest public service advertising campaign, Decide to Drive. (See “Distracted driving and you,” AAOS Now, July 2011.) The newest element of this multimedia campaign reaches out to future drivers so they learn good driving habits.

The AAOS has developed a school curriculum to help students identify distracted driving behaviors and to help reduce injuries and deaths. In this issue of AAOS Now, you’ll find a bright yellow poster, with the headline, “Be a Decide to Drive Detective!”

This poster will also be distributed to 10,000 fifth- and sixth-grade teachers across the nation to help enlist students in changing their parents’ distracted driving behaviors and to help ensure they grow up to be safe drivers themselves. AAOS member involvement is key, beginning with putting the poster up in your office or seeking permission to hang it up in a high-traffic area of your hospital.

Here are 10 ways that you as an orthopaedic surgeon and AAOS member can support this timely and important cause:

  1. Reach out to your children’s teachers or to local elementary school teachers and encourage them to incorporate the Decide to Drive program into their curricula.
  2. Offer to speak on the dangers of distracted driving at your local elementary school. As an orthopaedic surgeon, you’ve not only seen the results of motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted drivers, but probably also helped save lives.
  3. Encourage students in fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grades to enter the AAOS/Auto Alliance Decide to Drive Poster Contest by Nov. 15, 2011. Contest details are available on decidetodrive.org, and more than $5,000 in cash prizes will go to the winners.
  4. Offer to speak at any parent or community meeting in your neighborhood and encourage people to submit their stories of distracted driving on decidetodrive.org
  5. If you are booked as a speaker, arm yourself with news stories on distracted driving and show the Decide to Drive television public service advertisement (PSA), “Froggy.” (You can download the PSA from the decidetodrive.org website, under campaign resources.). It’s a great way to begin a discussion on the topic.
  6. End your talk with an action message: Ask students, parents, patients, teachers, friends, and colleagues to visit the Decide to Drive website, submit their distraction-related stories, and share what they learned from the program with their circle of acquaintances.
  7. Collaborate with community members or your institution to identify ways to build the Decide to Drive program into local programs at the library or hospital.
  8. Decide to drive each and every time YOU get behind the wheel, and start a conversation with your own family about this issue.
  9. Include information on this curriculum, the poster contest, and the Decide to Drive campaign on your own practice’s website, on your office’s Facebook page, or any other online presence.
  10. Share your stories with the AAOS. As you bring this curriculum to your local communities, we want to hear from you. Whether you need supporting materials for handouts or want to share success stories or ideas on how else to spread this message, contact Sandra Gordon, AAOS director of public relations, at (847) 384-4030 or gordon@aaos.org

All it takes to make a difference is one conversation, one click to the website, one encounter with a patient or a student. With your help, the AAOS can encourage future and current drivers to “Decide to Drive.”

Lauren Pearson is manager, media relations. She can be reached at pearson@aaos.org