National Trauma Awareness Month: Distracted Driving

This year during National Trauma Awareness Month, the focus is on the growing problem of distracted driving.

Every year the American Trauma Society, in collaboration with the Society of Trauma Nurses and the Emergency Medical Services for Children, get together to develop materials for National Trauma Awareness Month. Committee members research current trends in traumatic injury and select one cause of major injuries to focus on that year. This year they are again focusing on the growing problem of distracted driving. They urge communities across the United States to promote awareness in May 2012 and throughout the year.

» What is distracted driving?

Driving distracted does not merely mean taking your hands off the wheel or fiddling with a device. It may even involve not being fully aware of your actions while driving. This can result from having intense conversations, driving while upset, or just being overly tired. It may sound extreme, but fumbling for some chips in a bag might distract you for the split-second needed to avoid a sudden accident.

Driving distracted does not merely mean taking your hands off the wheel or fiddling with a device. It may even involve not being fully aware of your actions while driving.

The facts & common consensus points to distracted driving being a serious hazard. In 2009, 5,474 people were killed in crashes involving driver distraction, and an estimated 448,000 were injured. 16% of fatal crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving. 80% of motorist rate distracted driving as a very serious threat to their safety.

» The passenger problem

The drivers themselves are are not always the problem. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, “Passengers are one of the most frequently reported causes of distraction.” A passenger needs to be considerate of everyone’s safety & avoid distracting the driver’s attention from the task of driving.

The passenger can even help the driver avoid distraction

The passenger can even help the driver avoid distraction. Adult passengers can see to the needs of younger passengers so the driver is not distracted. Every effort the passenger can make to remove sources of distraction is a positive favor for road safety.

» Teens

Unfortunately, teen drivers are more likely than other age groups to be involved in a fatal crash where distraction is reported. 16% of all distracted driving crashes involve drivers under the age of 20. This being the case, it is important that teens are educated how to be a good driver & a good passenger.

» Awareness & educational materials

The National Trauma Awareness 2012 campaign media & materials created and selected by ATS, EMSC and STN are posted below. They include, but are not limited to, fact sheets, pamphlets, videos, and games directed at educating the public on distracted drivers and persons or things that will distract the driver.

Have a safe trip!

» Videos

(May contain graphic content)

» Distracted Drivers

» Distractors to the Driver

» Trauma Survivors Day

» World Trauma Symposium, November 1, 2012, New Orleans, LA

Debuting at the 2012 EMS World Expo, the World Trauma Symposium will present the latest information on the care of prehospital trauma patients and global trends in trauma care from internationally recognized experts.

Hosted by the National Association of EMT’s PHTLS Committee and EMS World Expo, attend the symposium to meet with other stakeholders in prehospital trauma care from around the world to:

  • Share the most up-to-date information on new techniques and protocols, lessons learned, and trends in the prehospital care of trauma patients.
  • Build and enhance international relationships among prehospital trauma care specialists to facilitate the global exchange of information.
  • Share issues and challenges faced in prehospital trauma care with an international audience and discuss how they may be addressed.

For more information and to register, see worldtraumasymposium.com.

Sources: American Trauma Society, EMS World

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