Decide to Drive

Last year Aaron Brookens of Beloit, Wisconsin, then 19, was driving home at 75 miles an hour after spending a weekend with his girlfriend when he decided to send her a text message — and wound up pinned under a semi. The toll: two broken femurs, a broken kneecap and ankle, nerve damage to both legs, and a lacerated spleen, kidney and liver.

Numerous operations and a lengthy rehab later, Mr. Brookens knows he’s lucky to be alive. “No one thinks it will happen to them,” he said on Wednesday at a news conference convened by the orthopedists.

That anecdote is one of many reported in article by health guru Jane E. Brody in The New York Times, which reports on a new campaign–another campaign–designed to battle distracted driving. This new effort is the Decide to Drive campaign, sponsored by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). The goal is to point out that there are many distractions that can pull a driver’s focus from the road, more than the highly publicized distractions of texting and talking on a cell phone.

According to the National Safety Council, there have been more than 300,000 crashes so far this year…all due to distracted driving. What dangerous distractions are out there, causing drivers to hurt themselves or others?  A new website ( gives you the chance to read and report on eyes-off-the-road infractions. Some examples:

  • Applying mascara and other make-up
  • Shaving
  • Reading a book
  • Opening a bag of potato chips
  • Eating a hamburger–with two hands
  • Reading a map
  • Hunting for music on the radio
  • Surfing the Internet on a laptop on the front passenger seat

Horrifying, isn’t it?

If you would like to be part of the solution, follow the AAOS Wreck-less Checklist:

First, Decide to Drive–

1. Consciously make a decision each and every time you get behind the wheel to make all other activities, passengers and priorities secondary to driving.

2. Before you start your car:

    • Put on any accessories you may need, such as sunglasses or BluetoothTM ear pieces;
    • Adjust seats, head rests, vehicle controls and mirrors;
    • Fasten your seat belt;
    • Move all reading material away from easy reach;
    • Pre-load CDs or mp3 playlists and adjust volume level so your music does not mask the sounds of emergency sirens; and
    • Enter an address in the navigation system before you depart or review maps and written directions before you drive.

3. The AAOS, OTA and the Auto Alliance encourage all drivers to simply stop your vehicle — in a safe area — any time there is a distraction that needs your attention, such as retrieving items, having an involved discussion, reading, smoking, or disciplining a child.

4. Do not eat or drink while driving.

5. Keep your eyes on the road.

6. Driving is not the time to apply makeup, groom, polish your nails, or change clothing.

According to The New York Times, the orthopedists’ campaign will try to raise the national consciousness and change future driving behavior by taking their message to schoolchildren, especially those in grades 5 through 8, who may discourage their parents and siblings from driving distracted and refrain themselves when they become drivers. So, if your kids start reminding you to keep your eyes on the road, you’ll know why.

To read the full article in The New York Times, click here: Keeping Eyes on Distracted Driving’s Toll

To report on distracted drivers in your area, click here:

And if you were injured in a wreck caused by a distracted driver and would like to explore your legal options, contact HensonFuerst Attorneys at 1-800-4LAW-MED, or visit our website for more information ( If you have questions, HensonFuerst has answers.

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