Doctors Warn That Texting May Kill You

Earlier this week, ER doctors issued AWTTW, which is text lingo for "a word to the wise" about the dangers of texting while doing your daily routines.

We've all done it. We walk around looking down at our phones while texting someone from our cell phone. Always in a hurry, many of us don't stop to text and instead end up multi-tasking, which can be a big mistake. Many people that are out walking and texting often don't look up in time to see danger approaching. Some people end up bumping into bicyclists, skaters and even moving vehicles.

Dr. Linda Lawrence, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, says, "It just breaks your heart. These are innocent lives lost for a totally unnecessary reason. The reason why you can walk and chew gum at the same time is that you can still see where you're going. But when you're texting, you're looking down at your phone. It's like walking blind."

ER doctors are eager to get the word out now before school starts and many children are on their phones texting. These doctors see many face and eye injuries and want these cases to be known.

Dr. Matthew Levin, an ER doctor at the University of California San Francisco Hospital witnessed an accident while driving home one night. A young woman was crossing the street while texting on her cell phone. As soon as she stepped off the median, she was struck by a pickup truck. She stayed alive in the ambulance, but ended up dying at the hospital. "It makes me sad to think that was the last moment of her life," Levin said. "Whatever she was text messaged could not have been as important as looking over her shoulder to see what the oncoming traffic was."

The American College of Emergency Physicians has issued texting safety guidelines:

- Don't text or use a cell phone while you're doing something that requires sustained attention: bicycling, boating, in-line skating and walking.

- Never text or use a handheld cell phone while driving. Even with a headset, you need to be extra careful.

- Keep your cell phone or Blackberry in an easy-to-reach place so you don't have to rummage through your purse, backpack or pockets to find it.

- If a call or text message will interfere with your concentration, ignore it. Better yet, turn your phone off before you start an activity that demands your attention.

- Remember that your reflexes are delayed when you're texting. Don't do it while you're waiting for a bus, sitting alone at night, walking through a crowd or anywhere else you could easily become the victim of a crime.

I have to say, I'm definitely guilty of this. However, this information reminds me that it's better to reply to a text message or phone call later instead of losing my life. It's just not worth it.

Source: ACEP via The Plain Dealer July 29, 2008