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Avoid the Dangers of Texting While Driving

Emergency Medicine physician at Silver Cross offers advice to keep you safe

New Lenox, IL (June 25, 2014)— We live in a world where multitasking and communicating is instantaneous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 500,000 young adults each year are injured due to various forms of distracted driving, including texting, mobile instant messaging, updating social media pages, sending photos, etc. It's a habit deadlier than drunk driving. However, such negligent behavior makes all drivers at risk for a fine, injury and even death.

According to Illinois state law, as of January 1, 2014, a new law bans the use of all hand-held devices while driving in Illinois. Only hands-free technology such as speakerphones, bluetooth, and headsets are permitted. In addition: (1) all cell phone use is prohibited while driving in a school zone; (2) all cell phone use is prohibited while driving in a highway construction zone, and (3) all cell phone use is prohibited if you are a novice driver. All Illinois drivers are prohibited from texting. Fines for violation of the Illinois cell phone law start at $75.

“The popularity of mobile devices has had some very dangerous consequences and are linked to a significant increase in distracted driving, resulting in injury and even loss of life,” says Dr. Daniel Checco, Medical Director for the Silver Cross Free-Standing Emergency Care Center in Homer Glen.

In 2011, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver, compared to 3,267 in 2010. Research has also found that text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted.

To stop this dangerous behavior, the Ad Council, Office of the State Attorneys General and NHTSA created a Texting and Driving Prevention campaign – Stop Texts. Stop Wrecks. The campaign targets young adult drivers and aims to show them the consequences of this seemingly unnecessary behavior.

“As an emergency room physician, I have seen so many young people and adults present with life threatening injuries suffered from a car accident that was a result of a negligent driver texting and driving,” says Dr. Checco. “It’s a shame to see people senselessly hurt especially when the distracted driving could have been avoided.”

Ways to stop texting & driving

Follow these simple tips offered by NHTSA to avoid severe injuries due to an accident caused by texting and driving:

Out of sight, out of mind.

When you're in the car, put your phone where you can't get it. A place where you won't even be tempted to look for it. No phone. No texting.

Silence is golden.

Turn those notifications off. The less you hear your phone, the less tempted you'll be to respond while you're driving.

Designate a texter.

Borrow thumbs from a friend. Or lend yours to a friend. Passengers get the privilege of texting while in motion.

Give Clear instructions.

Give teen drivers simple, clear instructions not to use their wireless devices while driving. Before new drivers get their licenses, discuss the fact that taking their eyes off the road – even for a few seconds – could cost someone injury or even death.

Lead by example.

Children learn from their parent’s behavior. No one should text and drive. Be an example for your children and if you need to text or talk on the phone, pull over to a safe place.

Become informed and be active.

Set rules for yourself and your household regarding distracted driving. Tell family, friends and organizations to which you belong about the importance of driving without distractions. Take information to your children’s’ schools and ask that it be shared with students and parents

If you or your child suffers injuries due to an accident from texting and driving, Dr. Daniel Checco and the rest of Silver Cross Hospital’s board certified emergency medicine physicians and nurses are ready to assist you and your family at The Silver Cross Free-Standing Emergency Care Center located at 143rd St. and Bell Rd in Homer Glen. The Center is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Emergency Care Nearby
Even with the utmost caution, distracted driving-related injuries can still occur.  It is good to know peace of mind is just minutes away at the Silver Cross Emergency Care Center located at 143rd and Bell Rd. in Homer Glen.  Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the Center is staffed with Silver Cross Hospital’s board certified emergency medicine physicians and nurses. For more information, call (708) 364-6004.

Located in the same building is the Silver Cross Health Center offering MRI, CT, X-ray, Ultrasound, EKG and laboratory services. A physician’s order is required. To schedule an appointment for a test, call (815) 300-7076.  There are also several primary and specialty physician offices and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross. For a referral to a physician at the Homer Glen medical center, call 1-888-660-HEAL or visit www.silvercross.org

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Physicians on Silver Cross Hospital’s Medical Staff have expertise in their areas of practice to meet the needs of patients seeking their care.  These physicians are independent practitioners on the Medical Staff and are not the agents or employees of Silver Cross Hospital. They treat patients based upon their independent medical judgment and they bill patients separately for their services.