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DANGER: DISTRACTED DRIVING

Operating a vehicle requires full concentration. Statistics show that trying to do anything other than focusing on the road can be dangerous—and even deadly. 17 percent of trauma injuries involve automobiles and 20 percent of these are due to distracted driving.

The term “distracted driving” refers to multi-tasking in any form. “Obviously, texting is the most distracting activity one can be doing. However, even having a friend in the back seat cracking jokes can be distracting,” says Riad Cachecho, M.D., medical director of the Crozer Regional Trauma Center. Other potentially dangerous activities include changing the radio station, eating, rummaging in a bag, putting on makeup, writing or even getting lost in thought.

The fact is that many injuries can be avoided by simply avoiding distracted driving. “In trauma we don’t use the term ‘car accidents,’ we use the term ‘crash’ because by definition an accident is something you cannot prevent,” Cachecho says. “But if you avoid icy roads, if you don’t drink and drive, if you don’t do anything else while you drive you can prevent these situations from happening.”

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