Distracted driving is the number one top cause of car accidents. Traffic experts, car accident lawyers, and now doctors are all participating in the movement to get drivers to put their cell phones down when they are behind the wheel.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Amy Ship, primary care physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston is looking to get physicians on board for asking patients about distracted driving habits they may have.
Doctors might start asking if you if you are a distracted driver.
“…as technology evolves, our questions must be updated in keeping with the risks…” Ship recently wrote in the latest issue of New England Journal of Medicine. Like our firm’s San Diego car accident lawyers have told you through our blog, Ship tells her patients that distracted driving is similar to driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs and puts lives at risk.
For her own patients, Ship asks if they and their families wear seat belts while in the car. The conversation then turns into questions about whether or not the patient uses their cell phone in the car, be it for talking or texting while driving.
When patients do admit to using a cellphone and driving at the same time, Ship warns them that the potential for personal injuries and wrongful death accidents goes up because their focus is not on the road, even if they are just talking and not texting. Ship asks patients to try and cut down their bad habit gradually, then end it altogether.
“If patients tell me that occasionally they receive ‘important’ phone calls they don’t want to miss, we discuss what that means in the context of the risks. We talk about alternatives, including pulling over to make or take calls. I remind them that we all managed without mobile phones until recently and encourage them to return to the practices of the pre-cellphone era,” said Ship in her article.
What about for patients who use a hands-free device when driving and talking? Ship asks them, “How would you feel if the surgeon removing your appendix talked on the phone — hands free, of course — while operating?”
Our firm thinks it is great that doctors are helping patients to take preventative measures to staying safe on the road. Like our car accident lawyers in San Diego, they want to stop distracted driving accidents before they happen and to do that, we all must put our cell phones away when it is time to drive.
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