Sylvia Scholl is the director of the WakeMed Trauma Program.
Are you guilty of being a cell phone socialite, disk jockey, high-fashion cosmetician or a 3-course meal king or queen all while driving?
As Wake County’s only Trauma Center, we see the repercussions from distracted driving every day and highly encourage everyone to reevaluate participating in distracting activities while driving. This includes using your cell phone, putting on make-up, disciplining the children – anything that causes you to take your focus from the primary task at hand – driving.
To reinforce the importance of eliminating distracted driving from our highways, I felt it was important to share with you information pulled together by the American Trauma Society showing that:
- Drivers who use hand-held cell phones are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
- Eighty percent of all crashes and 65 percent of near crashes involve some type of distraction. (Virginia Tech 100-Car Study for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
- Brain activity used while driving decreases by 40% when a driver listens to conversation or music. (Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging at Carnegie Mellon University)
- More than 80% of drivers admit to blatantly hazardous behavior: changing clothes, steering with a foot, painting nails, and shaving. (Nationwide Mutual Insurance)
- Nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted driver and more than a million were injured. (NHTSA)
- The worst offenders are the youngest and least-experienced drivers: men and women younger than 20 years of age. (NHTSA)
Let’s all make our roads a little safer by committing to these American Trauma Society guidelines and by signing the Distracted Driver Pledge.
1. Use your cell phone for emergency situations only.
2. Do your multi-tasking outside of the car.
3. Teens should limit the number of passengers as well as the level of activity inside the car.
4. Avoid eating while driving.
5. If you are drowsy, pull off the road.