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Taking a Phone Call or Texting While Driving Is a Dangerous Distraction

Date: 07.25.2012
Contact: Jennifer Farquhar, MBA Phone: (330) 375-4930

AKRON, Ohio, July 25, 2012 – No matter how important the conversation seems at the time, returning a text message or phone call while driving is a dangerous distraction that can cost lives.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2010, 3,092 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver, such as one texting, applying makeup or talking on the phone while driving. An additional 416,000 people were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver.

Summa Health System’s Rebecca Wise, Summit County Safe Communities Grant Coordinator, points to several statistics from the NHTSA to drive the point home:

  • Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to be involved in a serious crash. (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
  • Nine percent of fatal crashes in 2010 were reported as distraction-affected crashes. (NHTSA)
  • Eleven percent of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted. (NHTSA)

“People have a false sense of confidence when they choose to text and drive or use another device such as an MP3 player or GPS system,” Wise said. “But multitasking like this takes your mind, eyes and motor skills off the road. Safe drivers should return texts and set up their music or their GPS before they put their car in drive.”

According to a Carnegie Mellon study cited by the NHTSA, driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent. Another report from the National Safety Council found that more than one in four traffic accidents are caused by people having cell phone conversations or sending texts while driving. 

According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, in 2012, there have been 20 traffic-related fatalities in Summit County as of July 23. At the same time last year, there were 17 traffic-related fatalities in the county.

A message from Summa Health System and Summit County Safe Communities.

About Summa Health System
Summa Health System is one of the largest integrated healthcare delivery systems in Ohio. Encompassing a network of hospitals, community health centers, a health plan, a physician-hospital organization, a multi-specialty physician organization, research and multiple foundations, Summa is nationally renowned for excellence in patient care and for exceptional approaches to healthcare delivery. Summa's clinical services are consistently recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (Magnet status), U.S. News and World Report, Thomson Reuters and The Leapfrog Group. Summa also is a founding partner of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron. For more information, visit www.summahealth.org or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/summahealth and Twitter at www.twitter.com/summahealth.

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