Thursday, September 1, 2011

Stay alive! Don't text and drive.

     Recently, Meritus Health partnered with area organizations to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, and I really want to talk about why it’s so important to put the phone down.  We’ve all checked our phones while driving, not just teenagers. With these brilliant phones that seem like they can do everything except solve world hunger, professionals are used to having access to their e-mail at all times, and I know quite a few that are guilty of checking those emails while driving.  

     With the ability to get calls, texts, e-mails, games, facebook, banking, and almost anything you can imagine onto a 4 ½” long phone, it’s understandable that these devices have become inseparable from us.  But I think we have to use them responsibly.  And one of the most irresponsible ways to use your phone is while you’re driving. Our trauma surgeons and emergency department physicians have seen too many people come through their doors with injuries from accidents that could have been avoided. It’s time to change that. Across the country, companies are recognizing the dangers of distracted driving and stepping up to help raise awareness.  Chrysler has created an app that sends out and auto-responses while you're driving and uploaded the video below to their YouTube account:  

     I freely admit that I’ve texted while driving before.  It wasn’t until I started getting knee deep in statistics and videos and stories of people whose lives have been destroyed by a text message that I realized how incredibly dangerous it is.  Some of the literature I’ve been reading says that studies show it takes an average of 5-6 seconds to read a text message. Which makes you think -- you wouldn’t close your eyes for five or six seconds when you’re driving, so why does it seem like it’s okay to look down at your phone for that amount of time?  I’ve been lucky that my actions haven’t caused an accident yet.  But I’m done taking the risk.  I no longer text and drive, and if someone else is driving, the second they reach for their phone, I offer to operate it for them.  

So please, put the phone down.  Stay alive.  Don’t text and drive.

For more information about our campaign and how to take the pledge yourself, visit our website.

By Kayla Murphy

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