I know that I have been guilty—and I think every orthopaedic surgeon I know has also been guilty—of trying to do two things simultaneously. We all have talked on the phone, grabbed a bite to eat, drunk a morning cup of coffee, or engaged in activities other than the task of driving while behind the wheel. It seems harmless enough. These are small distractions, right?
“Decide to Drive,” the Academy’s distracted driving awareness campaign in partnership with the Auto Alliance, is challenging that notion. It has recently released a series of videos that humorously but effectively emphasize how small distractions can pose big dangers to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. You can see the videos on the Academy’s YouTube channel and at DecidetoDrive.org
Each video features an individual with an oversized distraction—a giant lipstick, smartphone, electric razor, steaming cup of coffee, or packet of French fries—while unsuccessfully trying to walk, ride a bike, or drive a pedicab. The segments conclude with the same individuals wielding real-size distractions while driving. The final message is sobering: Distractions behind the wheel may not be as small as they seem.
In 2013, approximately 424,000 people were injured in distracted driving-related crashes in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. That was an increase from 421,000 injuries in 2012.
To date, more than 50,000 viewers have seen the video series, which continues to gain traction on social media. The more people who view these videos and think about and discuss their personal driving distractions, the more likely we are to end distracted driving.
Join the conversation
How can you help? We’re asking Academy members to do the following:
- Post one or more of the videos on your personal or practice social media sites—Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram—along with the #NoSmallDistractions and #DecidetoDrive hashtags. On Twitter and Instagram, add @DecidetoDrive; on Facebook, use @DecidetoDrive.org
- On your postings, ask your friends, family members, colleagues, and patients to share their most significant and frequent distractions.
- Share your own common distractions while driving, as well as your plans to change your behavior.
I have posted the videos on my personal Twitter and Facebook pages. It’s easy to do. If you have any questions, please contact Kayee Ip, digital, public, and media relations strategist, in the AAOS department of public relations. Email Ip@aaos.org, or call direct, 847-384-4035.
Thank you for your support of Decide to Drive and the #NoSmallDistractions campaign.
Alan S. Hilibrand, MD, chairs the AAOS Communications Cabinet. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org