Dr. Charles Nozicka, the Medical Director of the Pediatric Emergency Department at Advocate Condell Hospital, is careful to note that "distracted driving” isn't just a problem among teens. Dr. Nozicka, a guest speaker at the Illinois Traffic Safety Leaders Spring Conference later this week, urges, "Adults--parents especially--need to lead by example. If teens see you texting in your car--but only at red lights--you are telling them it's okay in certain circumstances. And it's not."
Reports show that an increasing number of adults are guilty of distracted driving, and unfortunately, the results of this bad habit can be deadly.
According to a study released by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and Orthopedic Trauma Association, among those who self-reported distracted driving behaviors overall, 30-44 year olds seem to be the worst offenders who most frequently admitted to eating or drinking, talking on a cell phone or reaching in the back seat of the car while driving. What’s even more frightening, many drivers who have experienced a near-accident due to their own distracted driving behavior say that they will continue the behavior that caused them to slam on the breaks to avoid an accident.
“It only takes a few seconds for you to permanently change someone’s life,” said Dr. Nozicka. “If your car is traveling at 60 miles per hour, in just a few seconds of taking your eyes off the road you have traveled the length of a football field blindfolded. In those few seconds, you can cause a lot of permanent damage.”
This week, it was reported that a driver in Louisiana is now facing negligent homicide charges after he struck and killed a pedestrian when his car veered off the road because he allegedly looked at his cell phone. “In that case, the driver was supposedly looking at his phone to see who was calling,” said Dr. Nozicka. “And as a result, one person is dead, and his life will never be the same, either.”
Dr. Nozicka has seen the results of distracted driving. “We see teens coming in to the ED all of the time who have been in accidents because they were reaching for their cell phone or texting while driving. They learn quickly, though, how their decisions impact not only their own health and well-being, but also the health of the other parties involved in the accident.”
That is why Dr. Nozicka publicly encourages drivers of all ages to put down the cell phones, set navigation systems in advance of driving and pay attention to the task at hand. “There simply isn’t an email or a text message or a phone call in the world that is more important than your life or the lives of those around you. We need to adopt a zero-tolerance approach to distracted driving.”
To view a short video clip of Dr. Nozicka speaking on the topic of distracted driving, click here or you can copy/paste this link into your web browser: http://youtu.be/ruoXb04Hrkc
Dr. Nozicka will be speaking on the topics of distracted driving and underage drinking at the Illinois Traffic Safety Leaders Spring Conference this Friday, May 11, 8:30a - 3:30p, College of Lake County in Grayslake, Illinois.