Mark Jones, MD
Prisma Health Richland Hospital Trauma Center
No call, text or other activity is worth compromising your safety or that of those around you. Every day, approximately 9 deaths and more than 1,000 injuries occur because of incidents involving a distracted driver, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Distracted driving is participating in activities with the potential to divert attention away from driving, including:
- Visually: eyes off the road
- Manually: hands off the wheel
- Cognitively: mind off driving
Cellphone use is one of the most common and dangerous distractions. A survey conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 660,000 drivers are using cellphones or manipulating electronic devices at any given daylight moment. This widespread trend represents a significant risk. According to the National Safety Council, cellphone use, handheld or hands-free, makes a driver four times as likely to crash.
Distracted driving is an epidemic, but it is preventable. “Distracted driving is the cause of many preventable incidents,” said Mark Jones, MD, medical director of Prisma Health Richland Hospital’s Level One Trauma Center
. “We want our community members to know that their attentiveness while driving is a major deterrent and that we don’t want them to need our care because they were not paying attention. No communication is worth a life.”
Prisma Health Richland Hospital’s Level One Trauma Center physicians and clinical team urge community members to take the National Safety Council’s pledge to be an attentive driver by following a few tips:
Before you start driving:
- Program your GPS
- Finish reading/sending texts and emails
- Turn off your phone and put it in the glove compartment, trunk or your bag
While you are driving:
- Do not use voice commands with your phone or dashboard touch screen - hands-free systems are just as distracting as handheld
- On longer drives, schedule breaks to park safely and respond to messages
- Social media can wait - no update, tweet or video is worth a life
- Pull over and safely park to take a call or respond to messages
- Do not call or text someone if you know they are driving
Prisma Health Richland Hospital Trauma Services offers a variety of programs to address injury prevention for people of all ages. For more information about the Prisma Health Richland Trauma Center and its programs, visit PalmettoHealth.org/Trauma.