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HEALTH WATCH: Texting and driving accidents, completely preventable

Accidents involving distracted drivers kill thousands of people every year. 
Channel Three's Jim Carmack looks at that number from the perspective of a doctor in the emergency department
   
Jim Carmack/Channel 3 News
"Nobody wants to spend time in a hospital emergency room.  But there may be one category of accidents that is totally preventable, and that's texting and driving. (BUMP) Now imagine if we'd been on a highway traveling 70mph."

Texting and driving.  We've all been told we shouldn't do it.  And yet.
Kaylee Toyne/Driver
"Oh yeah!  If you're in the middle of a conversation and you're texting.  Not that I think you should do that at all but you see people do it all the time."

But why?
Casey Gonzales/Driver
"When people go to the bathroom and I see guys using the urinal or something, they're using their phones then!  You know what I mean?  I mean people are just like addicted to their phones and it's just crazy."

Haden McCaskill/Driver
"They feel like it doesn't matter if they're texting and driving cause they don't think that they'll die that day."

Sadly, death is too often the outcome.  According to the CDC, over three thousand people die each year in crashes involving distracted drivers.
   
Emergency Department physician Doctor Stephanie Duggan says every one of those deaths is preventable.

Dr. Stephanie Duggan/Chief Medical Officer Sacred Heart Pensacola
"You've got to find what it's going to take for you to never do that again.  No text is worth dying for."

No one plans an accident.  When one happens, too often it comes with regret.
"If I could just do this over.  If I just had that moment back.   The significant traumas that we have, we are a Level 2 Trauma Center here at Sacred Heart, and I'd say that the majority of the traumas are involving that phrase."

One problem is that the majority of drivers believe they can safely text while driving.

"I've never been in a car crash or anything, so I believe that I am a very good driver.  I would like to believe anyways."

So how do we stop the practice?  Doctor Duggan says think of others around you, be an example for your children, or just don't do it.  Period.

"I never want to have to tell another family member that their child is dead.  And that they had the last text of this, or this is what was on their phone, or their phone was going off at the time.  I don't ever want to tell a child that their parent was killed in a car crash and God forbid, you kill someone else when you're texting and driving.  It's just one of those preventable things we just as a society need to not do."

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