KHS students win dangers of distracted driving contest

Students from Kamehameha Schools Maui High School received first place in the “Decide to Drive” distracted driving awareness magazine contest, sponsored by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

Nearly 400 teams, including more than 1,200 students from 53 high schools from across the U.S. submitted magazine contest entries highlighting the dangers of distracted driving. The awards were presented at Kamehameha Schools Maui High School on April 4.

Local orthopedic surgeon and AAOS member, Dr. Charles Soma, presented $1,000 checks to each of the four award-winning students: Daisy Draper, Jaylin Kekiwi, Destinee Murray and Maile Sur. A computer tablet prize package also was presented to Kamehameha teacher Kye Haina.

“Decide to Drive: A Student Advocacy Program,” a high school curriculum sponsored by the award-winning distracted driving awareness program, encourages teens to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road while driving. The advocacy program includes a magazine contest for which student teams were invited to design and write a magazine to engage and warn their peers about the dangers of distracted driving.

The program and contest, created and distributed by Scholastic along with the Academy and the Auto Alliance, encouraged students to create four-page magazines that included eye-catching visuals; thought-provoking statistics; and persuasive essays and tips on distracted driving.

Since 2009, orthopedic surgeons and automakers have urged drivers to “Decide to Drive” behind the wheel by avoiding texting, eating, talking on the phone, applying makeup and other distractions while driving. The awareness- and-prevention campaign includes an interactive website; print, television and radio public service advertisements; an elementary school educational curriculum; and active social media outreach.

Each year, approximately 421,000 Americans are injured in distracted driving-related crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were an estimated 3,328 fatalities in distracted driving-related crashes in 2012. According to the results of an AAOS-Harris Interactive survey, 94 percent of drivers believe that distracted driving is a problem in the U.S., and 89 percent within their own communities.