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Texting and Driving....Just Don't

Let’s be honest… everyone does it. We are all guilty. We are all guilty of driving while distracted. At one time or another, each of us has answered the phone, placed a call or sent a text while driving our car. The statistics and results of distracted driving are daunting. The photos of the aftermath of distracted driving are formidable. It only takes a few precious seconds, just a moment of diverting one’s eyes and attention to result in a devastating accident that could take a life, or alter the course of another life forever.

Just what is distracted driving? Anything that diverts the attention of the driver from operating the vehicle is considered to be distracted driving. This includes looking away from the road, for any reason, using your hands for other than driving, for example, eating, phone use, and certainly texting. Reaching over to your child in the back seat; even listening to music or books and daydreaming are considered to be forms of distracted driving.

Research conducted by the Georgia Highway Safety Association in 2011 found that distracted driving clearly affected driving performance by showing that drivers are distracted 50% of the time while they are driving! In addition, the study found that 15-20% of ALL crashes are associated with distracted driving. Further, TEXTING while driving was found to increase the risk of accidents more so than any other form of distracted driving. Georgia law prohibits the use of cell phones for drivers under age 18; and TEXTING is banned for drivers of ALL ages.

The recent media campaign, “It Can Wait!”, sponsored by AT&T, emphasizes the dangers and risks of texting and driving. The campaign challenges drivers to make a pledge not to text and drive. Simply put, “when it comes to texting and driving, it can wait”.

So, what can you do? Be a role model for your kids. Put down the phone!!! Nothing is more important than the lives of you and your children when driving your car. Lead by example. Talk with your teen about the real life risks of distracted driving. Texting and driving puts everyone at risk for a deadly outcome. This isn’t something that just happens to someone else. The consequences of texting and driving are forever life changing. Just as the use of seatbelts and child carseats is nonnegotiable while driving, make a NO TEXTING rule equally important. Our children will follow our lead. Together we can save lives and make driving safer for everyone.

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Written on behalf of PAMPA in the Fall of 2012

by the late Kelly Reed CPNP-PC


© 2011 Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
PAMPA is a pediatric medical practice in north Atlanta, Georgia consisting of twelve pediatricians, five nurses,
and four locations in Roswell, Woodstock, Atlanta, and Marietta. area.
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