TRENTON — Distracted driving is fast becoming one of the biggest health risks in the United States, with countless people endangering the lives of others while staring at their cell phones or other devices.
Each day in the U.S., about nine people are killed and over 1,000 more are injured in crashes that involve a distracted driver, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
But distracted driving goes far beyond just using your phone, as the definition could also extend to anything else that takes your attention away from the road such as staring at objects off to the side of your vision, eating, putting on makeup, and many more.
In order to combat the growing trend of distracted drivers and educate the general public, Beaumont Hospital of Trenton has created The Downriver Distracted Driving awareness program, which was launched by trauma coordinators at Beaumont Hospital in the city in 2016, in collaboration with the 33rd Circuit Court serving communities in Brownstown, Flat Rock, Gibraltar, Grosse Ile, Rockwood, Trenton and Woodhaven.
It is recommended that teens and other age groups who have been involved in motor vehicle crashes attend the seminar as part of their court hearing, according to a press release from Beaumont. Attendees will earn a certificate of complete that could result in a reduced plea with no points and a possible reduced fine.
“It’s just as risky to drive drunk as is it is to drive while distracted, with drivers four times likely to get into a crash while talking or texting on their phones,” said Barbie Loreto, RN, a trauma injury prevention coordinator at the hospital.
“Reaching for a phone, dialing it, talking and texting can all take away from attention and focus on driving. Other major distractions can be daydreaming, or thinking about what they must do that day, so they’re not focused on the roads,” added Loreto. “For many attendees, once they start to drive home from class, they’re going to find themselves noticing some of these behaviors.”
The program will include the use of a driving simulator as well as impairment goggles showing teens the dangers of drunk driving at various levels of intoxication.
For more information about Beaumont’s participation in the Downriver Distracted Driving Awareness Program, contact Loreto at 734-642-2118.