American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Launch National PSA Campaign on Distracted Walking

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Study Shows Distracted Pedestrians a Factor in Thousands of Injuries and Death

We know that the number of injuries to pedestrians using their phones has nearly tripled since 2004, and surveys have shown that 60% of pedestrians are distracted by other activities while walking

Distracted driving can cause crashes, injuries and death. It’s a prevalent public issue that the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) continues to champion. But what about distracted walking? The consequences of pedestrians talking on the phone, texting, listening to music, engaging deeply in conversation with the person next to them, eating, or focusing on anything or anyone other than the task of getting where they need to go is now more than a nuisance, it's a known safety risk.

Distracted pedestrians, today more than ever, pose safety threats to themselves and others. Various studies show that distracted “deadwalkers” cause an epidemic of abrasions, fractures and other orthopaedic injuries. Today, more and more pedestrians fall down stairs, trip over curbs or other objects, and in many instances, step into traffic, causing serious injury, and even death, each year.

The statistics highlight the problem: according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted pedestrians may have been a contributing factor in the 4,200 pedestrian deaths and 70,000 injuries in traffic crashes in 2010.

"We know that the number of injuries to pedestrians using their phones has nearly tripled since 2004, and surveys have shown that 60 percent of pedestrians are distracted by other activities while walking," said Alan Hilibrand, MD, chair of the AAOS Communications Cabinet. "Orthopaedic surgeons—the medical doctors who specialize in bones, muscles and joints—focus on keeping bones strong so that we can keep our nation in motion. In 2009, AAOS launched the “Decide to Drive” campaign to educate children, teens and adults about the dangers of distracted driving. For 2015, the Academy is now expanding its message to include the dangers of distracted walking."

This year, the AAOS has released a television and radio PSA, using humor to illustrate the problem. Created by August Lang & Husak located in Bethesda, MD., the television PSA starts by insinuating a threat is on the street. Then, the audience can see there are several vignettes of a person walking down the street talking on his cell phone while causing pedestrian and streetscape mayhem all around him. Finally an older woman stops him in his tracks and says “Dude….Engage!” It's a timely message for people rushing through this busy world - nothing will slow you down quite like a broken bone - so look up and look out for yourself and others!

The TV PSAs are available in :60/:30 and :15 second lengths, and the radio PSAs of the same theme are available in :30 and :60 second lengths. The Academy's national, multimedia campaign also includes print and out-of-home messages on other timely injury prevention topics.

Radio and TV PSAs can be downloaded at: http://www.goodwillcommunications.com/PSADigitalFiles.aspx?campId=319

For more information on the campaign, go to: http://newsroom.aaos.org/PSA/, or contact Kristina Goel at 847-384-4034 or goel(at)aaos(dot)org.

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Kristina Goel
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
+1 847-384-4034
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Bill Goodwill
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