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TEXT U L8R (Text You Later)

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18
Nov

Dr. Ted James speaks at the first-ever "Text U L8TR" program for high school students.

Dr. Ted James speaks at the first-ever “Text U L8TR” program for high school students. Photo credit: UVM Medical Photography.

National Teens Don’t Text and Drive Week takes place November 18 – November 23. Keep reading this blog all week for information and testimonials about the dangers of texting and driving – and what you can do to stop it.

Ted James, MD, is a surgical oncologist and medical director of the Clinical Simulation Laboratory at Fletcher Allen and the University of Vermont College of Medicine.

Ted James, MD, is a surgical oncologist and medical director of the Clinical Simulation Laboratory at Fletcher Allen and the University of Vermont College of Medicine.

Texting while driving causes 1.6 million car accidents and 330,000 injuries per year, and 11 teen deaths every single day.

As the only Level 1 Trauma Center in the state, we see the terrible injuries that result from these accidents all too often. And we also care for these patients during the rehabilitation process as they confront their often very serious limitations of movement, thinking and speaking.

It is heartbreaking to see so much pain and struggle – especially when the cause is completely preventable.

That’s why Fletcher Allen Health Care and the Clinical Simulation Laboratory at the UVM College of Medicine created “TXT U L8R,” a unique program designed to discourage high school students from texting while driving.

Last week, we met with 65 driver education students from Vermont’s Milton High School and Northfield High School. What followed in the next 90 minutes was impactful: we had an advanced driving simulator so students could see the dangers of driving while texting,  a simulated  trauma scenario depicting the attempted resuscitation of patient who crashed after texting while driving, and a testimonial from Deborah Drewniak, the victim of an accident caused by a teen driver who was texting. All very powerful.

A student test drives the simulator to see how difficult and dangerous it is to text and drive.

A student test drives the simulator to see how difficult and dangerous it is to text and drive. Photo credit: UVM Medical Photography.

We are proud to launch this program – and we hope to partner with more area schools to talk to teens about the dangers of driving while texting.

Fortunately, there are many ways to keep from putting ourselves and other drivers in grave danger.

  • Call/text BEFORE driving to let parents/friends know when you’ll arrive.
  • Don’t take your phone with you
  • Turn your phone off or put it on vibrate
  • Ask your passengers to stop you from texting while driving
  • Ask your passengers to text or call for you
  • Passengers: ask the driver not to text or talk on the phone
  • Pull over to a safe location to text or talk
  • Use a smart phone app that prevents texting while driving

But the most effective way is for you to decide that you are not going to be the cause of a needless tragedy in the first place. When your car is on, turn your cell phone off.

Ted James, MD, MS, is medical director of the Clinical Simulation Laboratory at Fletcher Allen and the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He is also a surgical oncologist at Fletcher Allen and associate professor at the University of Vermont College of Medicine.

The Clinical Simulation Laboratory provides health care professionals with a comprehensive, practical, and innovative solution to today’s clinical training and health care improvement needs in a safe, convenient, and controlled learning environment.

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