Due to a dramatic increase of cell phone-related accident victims in the Emergency Department, Albemarle Hospital has begun an initiative to urge teen drivers to stay focused on the road, instead of their electronic devices.
“Over 90 percent of teens admit to doing multiple tasks while driving,” said Angela Gary, Director of Emergency Services at Albemarle Hospital. “The most dangerous of these is texting while driving.”
The W82TXT (Wait To Text) program is designed to educate drivers on the many dangers of texting while driving. Here are a few facts:
- Individuals who drive while sending or reading text messages are 23 percent more likely to be involved in a car crash than other drivers.
- Texting while driving is six times more likely to cause a vehicle accident than driving when intoxicated.
- Cellphones are involved in 1.6 million auto accidents each year, causing a half million injuries and take more than 6,000 lives.
“Answering a text takes your complete attention away from the road for about five seconds,” Gary said. “That’s enough time to travel the length of a football field.”
Over the next year, Gary and other Albemarle Hospital employees will visit area schools asking teens to sign a pledge of safe driving. In return, they’ll receive a W82TXT thumb band. Everyone is welcome to sign a pledge and get their thumb band by coming to the Albemarle Hospital Emergency Department information desk and asking for Jessica Jones.