Reduce trauma by avoiding the “3Ds”

The UF Health Shands Trauma Center is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and May marks the 27th anniversary of National Trauma Awareness Month. This year’s campaign, presented by the American Trauma Society, focuses on educating the public about “3D Trauma Prevention” and the top contributors to motor vehicle crashes: drinking/drugs, distraction and drowsiness.

From 2004-14, UF Health Shands Hospital treated 24,066 patients with traumatic injuries, almost half of which resulted from motor vehicle collisions. With more than 420,000 motor vehicle injuries in the U.S. in 2013 caused by distracted drivers, it’s no wonder trauma is often referred to as a “preventable disease.”

“Many of the patients coming into our trauma center arrive with traumatic injuries that could have been prevented,” said Donna York, R.N., M.S.N., UF Health Shands Trauma Center program manager. “Educating the community about the dangers of distracted driving — and making certain drivers engage in the safest practices every time they’re behind the wheel — could significantly reduce the number of accidents, injuries and deaths resulting from motor vehicle crashes.”

According to the American Trauma Society, in 2013 there were more than 32,000 deaths and 2.3 million injuries in the U.S. resulting from motor vehicle crashes, the leading cause of all trauma injuries. Of these, 31 percent involved an alcohol-impaired driver and 18 percent involved a distracted driver.

“Anytime a driver diverts his or her attention away from driving — even if only for a moment — they significantly increase the risk of accident and injury for everyone in the car and in the vicinity of their car,” York said.

About the UF Health Shands
Trauma Center

Our Level 1 trauma center brings together experts from acute care surgery, critical care, emergency medicine, nursing, anesthesiology, radiology and more to quickly respond to the most devastating injuries in patients. When a trauma alert is called, a trauma surgeon, emergency room physician and resident, two registered nurses, a critical care technician and other staff members are present when a patient arrives.

During the 10 years since its inception, the center has grown to include 10 board-certified trauma surgeons and four pediatric trauma surgeons. The trauma center has four state-of-the-art resuscitation bays, a designated operating room and a 24-bed trauma intensive care unit. The center is also home to a regional burn center with eight dedicated beds.

The center incorporates many units within our system, beginning with the trauma/resuscitation bay adjacent to the UF Health Shands E.R., and moving to units throughout UF Health Shands Hospital that care for trauma patients, as well as to UF Health Shands Rehab Hospital. A significant portion of UF Health employees work directly or indirectly, or are otherwise involved with the trauma program.

Distracted Driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distraction occurs anytime you take your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel or your mind off the task of driving. All distractions while driving endanger the safety of the driver, passenger and bystanders. Some of the most common distractions include:

  • Texting
  • Using a cell phone or smartphone
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming
  • Reading, including maps
  • Using a navigation system
  • Watching a video
  • Adjusting a radio or audio device