Game Over: Empowering Kids to Prevent Distracted Driving

Game Over: Empowering Kids to Prevent Distracted Driving

The Connecticut Department of Transportation’s Governor’s Highway Safety Program and public media producer WGBH have teamed up to launch “Game Over.”

It is a safe driving initiative that empowers kids to prevent distracted driving, with the help of an animated PBS KIDS character, Ruff Ruffman.

At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving. This project aims to turn the tide on texting and driving.

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The “Game Over” digital initiative provides resources to encourage kids to become better passengers and to play an active role in helping parents to keep their eyes on the road.

The campaign’s approach tunes into the idea that kids are acutely aware of their parents’ distraction, especially when they are driving.

For “Game Over,” WGBH’s Children’s Media has produced a set of complementary materials for children and adults featuring the animated character Ruff Ruffman. Ruff, a cartoon dog, is the host of Ruff Ruffman: Humble Media Genius, a PBS KIDS online media and technology series.

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The safe driving initiative on the Ruff Ruffman website features an animated video explaining the dangers of distracted driving (Ruff learns he can’t play his driving game and be on the phone at the same time) and a catchy, original song, “Just Drive,” which takes a humorous angle on this topic and warns of the dangers of multitasking while driving.

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Families will also be encouraged to print and sign a Safe Driving Pledge and to display it in a prominent place in the home as a reminder not to text and drive.

Other “Game Over” elements include a quiz from Ruff asking questions about driving and offering appropriate feedback; polls about technology use; a guide for parents to explain the video content; background information for parents about the hazards of distracted driving; and real letters from kids about their own families’ distracted driving experiences.

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