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Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Jayaram Krishnaswamy, Wayne Ariola, Liz McMillan, Jason Bloomberg

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Redesigned "Decide to Drive" Website Lets You Anonymously Tell Friends, Family That They are Driving Distracted also features winning entries from national teen distracted driving magazine contest

ROSEMONT, Ill., April 21, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new resource is now at your fingertips when battling distracted driving.

The newly redesigned website allows you to anonymously send safe driving tipsthe "Wreckless Checklist"to the distracted drivers in your life giving them a "heads up" about their dangerous driving habits. You provide an email address and "Decide to Drive," the award-winning distracted driving prevention program sponsored by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (Auto Alliance) will send out safe driving tips to that person.

The colorful and engaging website allows visitors to more actively advocate for safe driving in their communities by:

  • Sharing and rating distracted driving stories.
  • Contributing to the social media discussion on distracted driving through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
  • Participating in contests and events.
  • Accessing videos and other "Decide to Drive" materials, such as computer or mobile device wallpaper, public service announcements, educational components, and distracted driving facts and statistics.

"The new website provides visitors with more reasons and reminders to stay focused on the road, and the tools to encourage their friends and family members to do so as well," said AAOS President Frederick M. Azar, MD. "It's a place where the conversation can start, and hopefully will continue in communities throughout the U.S."

Each year, approximately 421,000 Americans are injured in distracted driving-related crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were an estimated 3,328 fatalities in distracted driving-related crashes in 2012. The results of an AAOS-Harris Interactive survey found that 94 percent of drivers believe that distracted driving is a problem in the U.S., and 89 percent within their own communities.

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. In addition to, 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.

Also featured on the newly redesigned website are the finalists and winning entries in the "Decide to Drive" national student distracted driving magazine contest.

Last September, "Decide to Drive" launched "Decide to Drive: A Student Advocacy Program," a high school distracted driving curriculum. Through the curriculum—sent to approximately 200,000 high school teachers nationwide—students assessed, observed and recorded distracted driving in their own communities; role played how to start a conversation with a driver about their distracted driving behaviors; researched local laws and distracted driving incidences; and examined and used national statistics on distracted driving. The program culminated with a magazine contest, open to students grades 9 through 12, in the U.S. The contest offered a tablet computer of choice for the teachers of the winning entries; and first, second and third place cash prizes (up to $4,000, $2,000 and $1,000 for each winning team, respectively).

Nearly 400 teams from across the country, comprised of more than 1,200 students, submitted magazine entries. Three winning entries were selected from 26 finalists: in first place, a team from Kamehameha High School in Pukalani, Hawaii; and in second and third place, two teams from Centennial High School in Peoria, Ariz.

"We applaud the winning student teams for their outstanding advocacy efforts on behalf of safe driving," said Dr. Azar. "Their efforts and willingness to take on the challenge of distracted driving in their schools and communities are commendable."

"We want to build on that sentiment," added Wade Newton, director of communications at the Auto Alliance. "If people already know this is a concern, empowering them to say something when they need to is especially important. We want people to act on their instincts:  safe driving means eyes on the road and hands on the wheel and putting other distractions aside."

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SOURCE American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

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