MedStar Supports Ban on Texting While Driving



Fort Worth, TX — June 1, 2011 —   MedStar EMS is proud to voice its support for the bill banning texting while driving as it awaits Governor Perry’s signature before becoming law.  As the emergency medical services provider for Fort Worth and 14 other cities, the organization is well-aware of the dangers of distracted driving and the often life-changing consequences.


MedStar’s Risk and Safety Manager, Mike Shelton, has devoted more than 20 years to understanding the dynamics of road safety.  He co-authored a driver training program for the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians called “Safety:  Takin’ It To the Streets” which was awarded the 2010 Rosencranz Award for excellence in EMS safety and injury prevention.


“Safe driving takes 100% attention,” says Shelton. “It’s plain physics – even an average family car moving rapidly won’t stop or turn on a dime.  A driver whose eyes and mind aren’t on the road has a significantly delayed reaction time and is just a collision in the making.”


Based on research presented by the Texas Department of Transportation at the May 2010 Safety Summit in Austin, a person sending a text message while driving will take their eyes from the road 4.6 out of every 6 seconds.  Multiplied by the vehicle’s speed, this means that a driver going 70 miles per hour will travel almost 500 feet while looking at their phone.   Then, factoring in the driver’s perception time, reaction time and actual braking time, a vehicle in this scenario would cover a distance of more than three football fields before being able to stop.


Over the past year, MedStar has responded to over 8,000 calls to 9-1-1 for motor vehicle collisions within its service area.  If national statistics from the NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System hold true, it’s possible that 1,600 of those could have been caused by distracted driving.   But, numbers can tell only part of the story.


“Distracted driving is no joke.  Considering some of the horrific injuries I’ve worked at accident scenes, it’s something that can shatter the lives of everyone involved,” says veteran MedStar paramedic Tim Penic. “No message is worth the risk of ending up like that.”


MedStar applauds the Texas legislators for this potentially lifesaving bill and looks forward to its passing into law.


About MedStar

Responding to over 100,000 calls each year, MedStar EMS is the exclusive emergency and non-emergency ambulance service provider to over 880,000 residents throughout  Fort Worth and 14 other Tarrant County cities including Haltom City, Burleson, Saginaw, White Settlement, Forest Hill, River Oaks, Lake Worth, Sansom Park, Westworth Village, Blue Mound, Edgecliff Village, Haslet, Lakeside and Westover Hills.  Established in 1986, MedStar is governed by the Area Metropolitan Ambulance Authority board of directors, is one of only 132 ambulance services in the country to receive national accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services and is named the 2010 Texas EMS Provider of the Year by the Texas Department of State Health Services. 


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