With technology at our fingertips texting is often too tempting.

“It’s really hard not to text and drive I’ll tell you that – because so much of what we do now days. People don’t even call you anymore they text you everything,” says Tara Warner, who gave up texting and driving.

“I do see people do it all the time. I want to take their picture and text it over to the police station,” says Vince McDowell, who doesn’t text and drive.

The state of Florida banned the practice as of October 1st and for good reason.

“Once a week, twice a week, we have fatalities from distracted driving coming through our front doors,” says Mark Tesoro, injury prevention analyst with Lee Memorial Health System.

Mark Tesoro analyzes data from Lee Memorial Hospital’s Trauma Center. To gauge the problem, he took a hard look at local traffic and found laws barely make a dent in the problem.

“Now we count the number of people that aren’t on the phone,” says Tesoro.

Five seconds is the minimum amount of time your attention is off the road and on your phone when you’re sending or reading a text. If you’re driving 55 that's the amount of time it takes to drive the length of a football field while you’re looking at your phone.

“A lot of people think that if you’re doing hands free it’s a better situation. It really isn’t. The numbers suggest that texting or driving or talking on the phone while driving is a .08 blood alcohol level. So it’s the equivalent of being drunk on the road,” says Tesoro.

A sobering statistic. Federal figures found texting and driving make a crash 23 times more likely. Add in peak drive times and you have danger ahead.

“You are not only putting your own life in your hands, but you’re putting somebody else’s life at risk,” says Tesoro.

Something to think about when you get behind the wheel. So you won’t be driven to distraction.

View More Health Matters video segments at leememorial.org/healthmatters/

Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.

Visit leememorial.org

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