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Safe Driving is No Accident

From the Desk of Dr. Antonucci

May 17, 2023

May is National Trauma Awareness Month

President Ronald Reagan and Congress designated May National Trauma Awareness Month in 1988. Since then, the American Trauma Society, the Society of Trauma Nurses, trauma centers and health systems, like Lee Health, and other national organizations have joined forces to raise awareness of trauma care and injury prevention. Each year, a focused theme is chosen, and this year it is driving safety.

Motor vehicle crashes are the top reason patients are transported and treated at the Lee Health Trauma Center. The reality is that driving is one of the most dangerous things we do on a daily basis. We need to keep our eyes on the roadway and concentrate on driving. Preliminary data from the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles as of April 22, 2023, we have had 5,009 motor vehicle crashes in Lee County, 2,880 of which had injuries and there have been 30 fatalities. Motor vehicle crashes are the result of drunk, drugged and distracted driving, as well as speeding and even medical issues.

Here are some things to think about from our injury prevention team at the Lee Health Trauma Center:

  • Studies have shown that driving while on the phone – regardless of whether it is in your hand or you’re hands-free – is equivalent to driving with a 0.08 blood alcohol concentration. Talking on the phone utilizes 37% of your brain.
  • Even though most neighborhoods have speed limits of 30 miles per hour, this is too fast, especially when there are children in the neighborhood. A driver going 30 miles per hour has a 45% chance of killing a pedestrian or bicyclist they hit. When we increase the speed to 45 miles per hour, the chance of killing a person increases to 85%.
  • Driving under the influence doesn’t just include alcohol, but illicit and prescription drugs, too. Never drive a motor vehicle until you know how you react to a medication. Some prescription drugs can cause drowsiness or slow reaction times. If mixed with alcohol, the effects can be enhanced and potentially deadly.

This National Trauma Awareness Month, our Lee Health team wants to remind our fellow citizens of Lee County:

  • Do not drive distracted – turn off your cell phone or put it on “Do Not Disturb” and do not text or use social media while driving.
  • Do not drink or do drugs before or while driving.
  • Keep your eyes on the roadway.
  • Anticipate other drivers’ movements.
  • Wear your seatbelt every trip, every time you get in the car.

For more information about watching out for hazards on the roadways, check out the Health Matters segment on YouTube at