KISSIMMEE, Fla. — It’s been about a week and a half since texting while driving became a primary offense in Florida.
- ER surgeon says he sees too many patients because of texting while driving
- Says distracted driving injuries are more common than DUI
- 3,166 people died in the US in 2017 because of distracted driving
A Central Florida trauma doctor says they’re seeing way too many patients in the ER as a result of texting while driving.
Trauma surgeon Dr. Andrew Skattam deals with the consequences of distracted driving in the Osceola County Regional Medical Center ER regularly.
“We see everything from a minor injury, someone driving over someone’s foot, someone clip someone with a mirror, all the way up to a T-bone accident with multiple casualties and fatalities,” Dr. Skattam said.
Dr. Skattam says texting and driving has become one of the most common forms of impaired driving they see, even more common than drunk driving.
“I would say it has replaced it, because the number of people who text and drive far exceeds the number of people who drink and drive now,” Dr. Skattam said.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 3,166 people died in the U.S. in 2017 because of distracted driving.
And since the 'no texting while driving' law has gone into effect in Florida, 36 citations have been issued statewide.
Dr. Skattam says it may seem harmless, but he sees regularly how distracted driving destroys families.
“The investigation goes on and we find out that it was a distracted driving or specifically a texting while driving incident, we now have that survivor on our service. They’re still recovering from their injuries, now finding out that someone passed away from an accident that was certainly preventable and never should’ve happened," Dr. Skattam said.
Dr. Skattam says stats also show texting and driving disproportionately affects more teens than adults.