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Officials Warn Against Texting and Driving

Panama City-The American Trauma Society says 20% of all the 2009 traffic accidents resulting in injuries came about because of distracted driving.

That's why Bay Medical Center Trauma officials are raising awareness about the issue.

Currently, Florida law does not prohibit sending text messages or using a cell phone while driving.
Many health officials believe, if more people used common sense on the roads, there would be fewer deaths as a result.

Surgeon Glenn Summers is the Trauma Medical Director at Bay Medical Center.
He says he's seen too many people in his surgery room, that shouldn't have been there.

"I had a patient not that long ago that was on the side of the road on his motorcycle and got run over by somebody who as texting at the time," said Summers.

Wednesday, trauma centers across the nation observed Trauma Awareness Day, to remind people to think twice before reaching for their cell phone, or any other distraction.

"Just that one little extra moment of awareness would allow somebody not to make a bad decision that ruins the rest of their life, is critical to us," said Summers.

There are on-going debates over a ban against drivers using cell phones.

"I don't want my child in a car while a person isn't paying attention, texting away," said Donald Wonders, a driver in Bay County.

Others say it would be impossible to completely eliminate distracted driving.

"From a doctor's standpoint, it'd be nice to have that law. From a practical standpoint, you can't legislate common sense," said Summers who says eating, drinking, and changing the radio can also result in a distraction.

Common sense is exactly what health officials want you to exercise, not just on the roadways, but in all aspects of life.

Tyndall Air Force Base officials are holding a news conference on Friday about a new program to crack down on drivers using cell phones.

Source: WJHG News, "Bay Medical Center Officials Warn Against Texting and Driving", Sandra Osborne, May 16, 2012

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