Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Driving while texting is a deadly combination

Drinking and speeding are two well known causes of serious car crashes.

Now it’s time to add distracted driving to the list.

Locally and nationally, the number of crashes involving distracted driving – which can be anything from programming your GPS to reading or text messaging – is rising.

The federal government estimates that 30 percent of all crashes in the United States involve driver distraction.

As manager of the Backus Hospital Trauma Center, I think that number might be higher. Just in the last few weeks we have seen several crashes that involved distracted driving.

And over the longer term, we are seeing an uptick in crashes due to distracted driving. A growing culprit these days is text messaging. A growing amount of evidence suggests that driving while texting is even riskier than driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Driving while texting is extremely dangerous – we have seen many serious and fatal crashes on our local roadways to prove it. Because texting is so popular among teens, they are also major offenders when it comes to texting and driving.

This is a dangerous combination – inexperienced drivers taking their eyes off the road to read or send text messages. If you add alcohol to the mix it’s even worse.

What can we do? Here at Backus Hospital, we have included distracted driving deterrence into the curriculum of our Be Aware Program, which reaches hundreds of local teens ever year.

Parents should amend their warnings about drinking and driving and speeding to include talk of distracted driving, and remind their children that using a cell phone while driving – whether to talk or text – is against the law.

Gillian Mosier is a registered nurse and manager of the Backus Trauma Program. This column should not replace the advice of your physician. To comment on this or other Healthy Living columns, go to the Healthy Living blog at backushospital.org or e-mail the columnists at healthyliving@wwbh.org.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?