Death by Distraction: Texting & Driving

It’s no secret that texting and driving kills, and as a nurse, you may have some taste of how a simple phone can ruin many lives. But do you know the hard facts about texting and driving?

Are you guilty of texting and driving yourself? You’re always rushing to and from work, home, school, and other family obligations that it’s probably very tempting to pick up your phone and answer that text you ignored earlier while you were brushing your teeth. Or maybe you want to send a quick message to your significant other and let them know you’re bringing home dinner.

No matter the circumstances, texting and driving is always a bad idea. Hopefully, the following data will help you convince yourself, your friends and family, and maybe even your patients that nothing is important enough to text and drive.

Texting and Driving Is the Perfect Storm for Disaster

Texting and driving is so dangerous because it involved multiple senses and distracts the brain in more than one way. First, it takes your eyes off the road and puts them on your phone. Secondly, it takes your hands off the steering wheel. And finally, it takes your concentration and attention away from driving and focusing on your surroundings and puts them into the conversation you’re having at the time.

This may not seem like a big deal because, after all, it’s only for a few seconds, right? That’s true. It may only take you as little as 5 seconds to read and or answer a text. In those same 5 seconds, traveling at around 55 mph, you’ve already driven the length of a football field without paying attention to your driving. Would you want to share the road with someone who didn’t even know you existed on the road with them? Probably not.

Texting and Driving by the Numbers

The cold, hard facts don’t lie. Raw data can tell you more about a topic than we could ever say, and this is especially true when talking about texting and driving because the numbers are speaking about real human lives.

According to the CDC, nine people die every day due to distracted driving, which includes texting. The probability that any crash involves a cellphone: 25 percent. Just by putting away our cellphone and focusing on our driving, we could reduce the number of car accidents by one-fourth without making any other changes. That’s incredible.

To go a bit deeper into the numbers, the National Safety Council says annually, 1.6 million accidents occur due to cellphone usage. In addition to the deaths that occur due to distracted driving, texting and driving causes 330,000 accidents each year.

Texting and Driving Impacts More Than Those Involved in the Accident

We’ve already discussed how texting and driving can kill and injure people, changing their lives forever. It’s nothing anyone ever deserves, but it becomes a whole different thing if you cost someone their life or severely injure them because that text from your best friend just couldn’t wait. Then, you must live with the guilt and trauma associated with taking the life or severely injuring someone because you could not put the phone down while driving.

If texting and driving causes an accident with injuries or deaths, how does that pass through families, or even generations? It could mean that a mother or a father doesn’t return home after work due to an accident on the freeway. Or it leaves a teenager paralyzed before even really living their life. These two examples alone affect the person’s current and future family.

Texting and driving leaves children to grow up without parents. It forces parents to watch their teenager learn to walk, talk, and eat again. It destroys lives and shatters families.

It affects the trauma team and the nurses, just like you, who care for the survivors of a bad car accident. They see the pain and suffering, as well as the trials and triumphs that come from horrible car crashes. Hopefully, in this case, it encourages them to choose differently and not succumb to the pressure of distracted driving.

Texting and driving is serious business, and as nurses who are on the frontlines seeing the damage it does, we are more responsible than ever to speak out and inform our patients just how dangerous it is. We also need to lead by example and put away our cellphones because we are all too aware of the consequences if we don’t.

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