For the Media

The following is the press release announcing the Just Drive! campaign:

Distracted Driving is Leading Cause of Teen Deaths

Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, home to the only adult Level I Trauma Center in eastern Wisconsin, are launching a new Just Drive! campaign to help eliminate distracted driving by educating both teens and parents about the importance of safe driving.

“Driving, like any other privilege, comes with certain responsibilities and driving dangerously can be met with serious consequences,” said Dr. John Weigelt, MD, DVM, Chief of Trauma and Critical Care Medicine at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin. “We hope by educating young drivers and their parents on safe driving habits, we can make a difference in decreasing the number of car-related injuries and deaths in Wisconsin.”

Signing the Just Drive! Contract

A key component of the educational campaign is asking teens and their parents to sign the Just Drive! contract to hold them accountable for their driving behavior. The contract serves as a reminder of what it means to drive safely and asks for a commitment from teens and parents to take that responsibility seriously. 

Driving Distractions

Teens are tempted away from the steering wheel by a variety of things including cell phones, friends, food, music and make-up. In Wisconsin, one teen driver is injured or killed in a car crash every 52 minutes, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Parents have a significant impact on their teens’ driving habits. In fact, a recent online survey conducted by Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin revealed that parents are the biggest influence on teen drivers and that most parents are exhibiting the same distracted behaviors as teens such as talking on the phone, singing their hearts out to music, eating, speeding and following other vehicles too closely.

Safe Driving Tips

Dr. Weigelt urges parents and teen drivers to drive responsibly. He recommends the following tips for staying focused on the road.

  • Hold all calls. A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety revealed that drivers who use cell phones — even hands-free models — are four times as likely to be involved in wrecks involving a serious injury than are drivers who do not use cell phones.
  • Turn the radio down. It doesn’t get any better than listening to great music with great friends, but wait to karaoke until you’re safely at home.
  • Slow down. Getting to school, practice or work isn’t a tryout for the Indy 500. Stick to the speed limit, keep at least a car length between your car and the car in front of you and use the mirrors to look at the cars around you, not yourself. 
  • Plan ahead. Give yourself plenty of time to eat, primp and study before getting behind the wheel, even if it means getting up 15 minutes earlier for school.
  • Pickles on the side … for that burger to go. Many Americans eat meals on the go. If you do, plan on eating in the car while parked in a safe parking lot or destination. Eating while driving is not only messy but can be deadly.
  • Focus, focus, focus. There are so many other factors that can impair your driving ability — weather, traffic, construction. If you’re focused on the road and the conditions around you, you have a much better chance of avoiding potentially dangerous situations.
  • Never — ever — drink and drive. Alcohol alters the mind and your ability to operate a vehicle clearly, safely. The Just Drive! contract gives kids the permission to call parents for a ride regardless of the time or reason. 

Dr. Weigelt helped Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin author the “Just Drive! A Manual for Safe Driving,” which includes real life stories from distracted drivers as well as tips and advice for driving safely.