June 9th, 2010
09:10 PM ET

Doctor: Talk to patients about distracted driving

By Leslie Wade
CNN Medical Producer

Blood pressure? Check. Weight? Check. Cholesterol levels?  Check.  Driving habits?  What?

A doctor in Boston is urging her colleagues to talk to their patients about the potential health consequences of talking on the phone or texting while driving.

In an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Ann N. Ship writes that doctors should have the conversation with patients during annual exams.

The Assistant Professor of Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston writes that mobile device usage is a growing cause of automobile accidents in the United States.

You can read Ship's article here.

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soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Erik Wood

    Our family doctor asks his patients if they drink and drive and texting by most counts is four times more dangerous than drinking and driving...so 'yes' – why wouldn't a doctor ask this question?

    I also think that we can’t legislate our way out of this issue either. I just read that 72% of teens text daily – many text more than 3000 times a month. This issue is in its infancy and its not going away. I decided to do something about it after my three year old daughter was nearly run down right in front of me by a texting driver . Instead of a shackle that locks down phones and alienates the user (especially teens), I built a tool called OTTER that is a simple app for smartphones – low cost, no recurring fees. We can empower the individual and change will come to our highways now and not just our laws.

    Erik Wood, owner

    June 11, 2010 at 01:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Belinda

    I'm a medical student, and also a cyclist. I'm DEFINITELY going to talk to patients about driving and texting, and even driving while talking on cell phones, hands free or not. I can't tell you how many times I've had close calls on my bicycle because of distracted drivers running red lights and just not paying attention. Just yesterday, I was nearly struck by a semi whose driver was making a left turn without the right of way while talking on his phone... and I wasn't the only person he nearly struck... and we even had our own lane for us- no yielding... he crossed into it.. In general, I try and make eye contact with other drivers in intersections, but these days even that isn't always enough.

    June 11, 2010 at 10:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Bailie

    It is great that some people are really stepping up to the plate to try to spread awareness about the dangers of texting and driving. Ultimately, the majority of the population doesn't realize how dangerous it really is- and by providing the information and statistics we can help make distracted driving as frowned upon as driving under the influence.

    A Seattle personal injury lawyer recently started a program for teenagers called "Teens Against Distracted Driving" (TADD) with the goal of not only increasing awareness of the dangers of using a cell phone while driving, but to get a solid group of people signing a pledge to not drive while texting or talking on the phone.


    The more people know about distracted driving the better chance we have at increasing road safety.

    June 24, 2010 at 11:50 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.