Almost daily, the Level I trauma team at University Hospital works to save victims of distracted driving. Now they’ve extended that lifesaving work beyond the trauma bay to reach distracted drivers where their eyes are — on their smart phones.
“We live in a technology-savvy world, so it makes sense to include technology in this very positive way, as part of the solution to the problem of distracted driving,” said George B. Hernández Jr., President and CEO of University Health.
A vehicle crash occurs every 58 seconds on Texas roadways, and one in five is the result of distracted driving, according to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says texting behind the wheel makes people 23 times more likely to cause a vehicle crash. Even the five seconds it takes to read a text message takes eyes off the road long enough to be dangerous and even fatal.
To help change behavior, the trauma team first worked with the communications team to develop “Drive Now. Text L8R.” It’s a program that includes an interactive presentation and opportunities to learn through experiences.
Next, in 2019, the team capitalized on the popularity of smart phone applications, the spirt of competition, and everyone’s love of free food and discounts, through a partnership with SAFE 2 SAVE. It’s a free rewards-based app that gives drivers points for every mile driven without touching their cell phones. Users can redeem points for free and discounted items at area restaurants and retailers. Over the past year, they’ve teamed up to build awareness for the application through school districts, corporations, universities and local media organizations.
“When we think of an ideal sponsor that cares deeply about distracted driving and injury prevention, we think about University Health,” said Marci Corry, owner and CEO of SAFE 2 SAVE. “We are delighted to have such a caring hospital group that wants to go the extra mile to impact the vast area it serves.”