AMA Daily Excerpt: "CDC: Many Americans admit to calling, texting while driving."

The following excerpts are taken from the AMA Daily email I receive. It is obvious that texting/emailing while driving is a serious public health hazard. Perhaps car manufacturers could get together with the Feds and mandate that all cars be outfitted with devices that deactivate cell phone signals when the cars start to move. Of course, that means you wouldn't be able to make a call from the passenger side but somebody must be able to come up with a reasonable solution that keeps the driver (and the rest of us) safe.

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Begin excerpts:

NBC Nightly News (3/14, story 14, 0:15, Williams, 7.86M) reported, "More numbers from the CDC: Most Americans now admit to talking on their cell phones while driving. A third of us admit to texting or e-mailing while at the wheel. Mostly young drivers they say, but the rates of usage here are much higher than in Europe."

        The Los Angeles Times (3/15, Mohan, 692K) reports in its "Booster Shots" blog that "nearly a third of US drivers aged 18 to 64 admitted they had read or sent a text message while driving during a 30-day period, compared with 15% in Spain, according to" a report published March 14 in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Additionally, two-thirds of Americans said they have talked on a cellphone while driving, "compared with a low of 21% in Britain."

        Bloomberg News (3/15, Edney) reports that according to the National Safety Council, about 3.5 million people "suffer serious injuries in traffic crashes" in America each year, "and an estimated 24 percent of those accidents involve mobile telephone use." CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a statement, "The cell phone can be a fatal distraction for those who use it while they drive. Driving and dialing or texting don't mix."

        The AP (3/15) notes the researchers did not provide an "explanation for why the use of distracting mobile devices is more common in the US than other countries. Mobile device markets in the US. and Europe are similarly saturated, making it unlikely that the findings are attributable to differing portions of the population owning devices in the countries, the study said." The study's author, CDC epidemiologist Rebecca Naumann, said, "We can't really say why a greater percentage of drivers in the US appear to be engaging in these behaviors. We really don't know."

        According to the NPR (3/15, Stein) "Shots" blog, the CDC said "there were no differences between men and women, but younger adults - ages 18 to 34 - were more likely to use a device while driving than those who were middle-aged or elderly."

        Also covering the story Reuters (3/15, Johnson), the NBC News (3/15, Fox) "Vitals" blog, and HealthDay (3/15, Reinberg).

Paul Doriotexting, driving, health