The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

May 31, 2013

Distracted driving


Daily Item

---- — Summer. For young drivers, the break from school means more time for fun, friends, driving, and unfortunately, driving distractions such as texting, eating and applying makeup. In fact, crashes and related injuries/fatalities involving teen drivers and passengers are most likely to occur between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 11 percent of drivers ages 15-19 who were involved in a fatal crash were reportedly distracted at the time of the crash. And, as referenced on justdrivepa.org, in 2010 there were 13,846 crashes in Pennsylvania where distracted driving played a role.

That's why the "Decide to Drive" campaign, sponsored by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (Auto Alliance), developed a Wreck-Less Checklist that includes the following tips:

Before starting your car:

n Set your phone aside

n Put on sunglasses and other accessories

n Fasten your safety belt

n Move reading material out of reach

n Pre-load CDs or mp3 playlists and adjust radio volume level

n Enter an address in the navigation system, or review directions

Pull the car over -- in a safe area -- any time there is a distraction that needs your attention.

Do not eat or drink, apply makeup, polish your nails or change clothing while driving.

Orthopaedic surgeons put bones and limbs back together after road crashes and trauma. We want teens and parents to know that no text or distraction is worth the life of you or someone you love. This summer, decide to drive!

Michael Gratch, MD

President, Pennsylvania Orthopaedic Society

Harrisburg