Scary thought: At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving. That’s a stat I’m not comfortable with. I’ve pledged to drive safely — which means I do not touch my phone to even check a text at a stoplight.
The Connecticut Department of Transportation‘s Governor’s Highway Safety Program and public media producer WGBH have teamed up to launch “Game Over,” a safe driving initiative that empowers kids to prevent distracted driving, with the help of a beloved animated PBS KIDS character, Ruff Ruffman.
This first-of-its-kind project hopes to turn the tide on texting and driving.
Nationwide, more than 3,000 people died in 2013 in crashes involving a distracted driver, while more than half a million were injured. Over 1,300 people are injured every day on the nation’s highways as a result of a distracted driving crash.
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 unusual 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 rich set of complementary materials for children and adults featuring the popular 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. It has generated 40 million video streams since its launch last year and won a Parent’s Choice Gold Award.
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, ”
Ruff Ruffman Website: features quizzes and games, and a guide for parents.
Distracted Driving Video: explains the dangers of distracted driving with a catchy, original song, “Just Drive,” a humorous take on n this important topic and warns of the dangers of multitasking while driving.
Safe Driving Pledge: families are encouraged to print and sign a “Safe Driving Pledge” as a reminder not to text and drive.
 National Occupant Protection Use Survey, 2015
 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
Take the Safe Driving Pledge with PBS Kids’ Ruff Ruffman