National campaign targets distracted driving

With the aim of raising awareness about the dangers of distracted driving, national public-service campaign “Decide to Drive” kicked off this month.

With former boxer Joe Frazier as spokesman, the campaign features a website, as well as posters, postcards and displays for surgeons to use to educate their patients. “The goal is to get people to think before they do something dangerous behind the wheel, such as using a cellphone, sending a text, eating or even reaching for a child’s toy,” The Courier-Journal‘s Darla Carter reports.
The undertaking is funded by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Orthopaedic Trauma Association. Orthopedic surgeons can mend a lot, but “there are some injuries you just can’t make normal,” said Dr. Marc Zussman, who practices in Rockford, Ill.
In 2009, 5,474 people died nationwide and another 448,000 were hurt in accidents thought to have involved distracted driving. In 2010, more than 54,000 accidents took place in which distracted driving was believed to be a factor. In July, it became illegal to text while driving in Kentucky. Drivers under the age of 18 cannot use cell phones at all while their vehicle is moving. As of January, texting and teen drivers can be stopped and fined for the violations.
To combat the issue, “a change in the entire safety culture is needed,” as occurred with seat-belt awareness, said Boyd Sigler, director of the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety. (Read more)
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