The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons is partnering with the Orthopaedic Trauma Association and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers to bring Decide to Drive, a campaign aimed to get people to focus more on driving and less on the distractions that may lead to car accidents.

Car accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries with 42 percent of all spinal cord traumas (including whiplash). Many people who visit this website are aware of the seriousness of chronic back problems and the unique challenges involved in recovering from a back injury or condition.

Recent studies have been focused on revealing the dangers of distracted driving. In one study, of the crashes with a single driver, 98% of the drivers were distracted drivers (2002 Pilot Study of Distracted Drivers p. 1.). Most distractions were found to come from within the car, including cell phones and texting, eating, and interacting with passengers.

You can watch the Public Service Announcement video:

Tips for Avoiding Distractions while Driving

1: Do things before getting in the car.

  • Eat before or after driving.
  • Same for hygiene (putting on lipstick, straightening a tie…).
  • Bring your GPS inside at night.
    • You can pre-set your destination points.
    • It makes your car less of a target for theft if you don’t park in a garage.
Article continues below

2: Use a hands-free cell phone if you might have to take a phone call during your drive.

  • Many cities are passing laws against using a cell phone with your hands while driving.

3: DO NOT text and drive

  • People who are texting are nearly 50 times more likely to be in a car accident or near-accident than an undistracted driver.

4: Reduce the time you are distracted by music.

  • Check if you have a CD player with the ability to play MP3 discs. An MP3 disc can be made from your computer (with a CD- or DVD- writable drive) from your music files and can hold 6-10 hours of music per disc, reducing time you have to sort through music or change CDs.

5: Help teen drivers be safe by limiting distractions.

  • Some cities or states do not allow drivers under 18 to travel with more than 1-2 passengers.
  • Teens are still learning to drive after they pass a driving test and part of that learning is how to deal with passengers and distractions. Supervised driving with a parent or a driving instructor will not be the same as with their friends in the next seat and/or in the back seats.

More tips can be found at the Wreck-less Checklist from DecideToDrive.Org