Sunday, June 6, 2010

It's Now Illegal!

As of Tuesday, June 1, a new law banning texting on cell phones while driving in Missouri City, Texas went into effect. Even while stopped at a traffic light or stop sign. I, for one, think this is a great law and will prevent injuries and save lives.

Far too many of us have become so relaxed while driving that it's like sitting comfortably in our homes with food, drinks, DVD's, phones and cruise control.

I was appalled the other day when I observed a woman driving on the freeway with an iPhone in her right hand using her thumb to operate it and a flip phone in her left while holding the steering wheel! This was definitely over the top!

I blew the horn at her and she looked up at me with the most indignant look on her face. Like I was rude and interrupted her!

I'm sure some people think I shouldn't blow the horn, but I don't want anyone looking down at their phone drifting over and hitting me! And I'm going to continue to honk the horn.

The risks of texting or even talking while driving are huge. The number one distraction while driving is cell phone use. The National Safety Council says that texting is six times more likely to cause an accident than driving while intoxicated!

Imagine if a person is drunk, or high, texting, listening to the radio with dogs, kids or other people in the vehicle trying to juggle the hot Starbucks or soft drink and eat the burger and fries!! Oh, yes and play a clarinet at the same time. Okay, I'm exaggerating just a little...maybe. But I have seen a guy driving a truck with two hands on a clarinet resting it on the center of the steering wheel!

Bottom line, driving is a serious business and I think we've all become a little too relaxed about it. Especially as it relates with food and phones. It's becoming a significant life altering problem.

I've been noticing a very alarming trend in my chiropractic wellness practice. I am treating an ever increasing amount of patients from trauma due to motor vehicle collisions. Most are my existing patients, some past patients and others referred by
patients or medical doctors. Some have had devastating collisions.

I am and always have been, willing to help my patients or those they care about in any way I can. Returning someone back to optimum health after a trauma is important work and requires clinical competence. Healing takes time and musculoskeletal and neurologic degeneration needs to be thwarted.

Just the other day, I accepted a patient for care who was referred by another current patient. He was amazed by all the ways with which we treat including adjusting the spine and nutritional intervention. I was amazed because he had told me about a previous terrible experience he had being treated at an "accident clinic" that an attorney had sent him to. The chiropractor never even adjusted his spine.

This man wasn't treated properly, had a bad experience with the attorney and the doctor. He only agreed to see me at the urging of a family member. He overcame his previous negative experience, now he's doing great and very happy.

The point is there are lots of "accident clinics" with dubious attorney connections. I can't tell you how many times we refuse to accept an accident patient that doesn't know us; referred by an attorney we don't know where the circumstances are questionable. It happens a lot. Believe me, there is a lot of corruption out there.

Accident cases aren't our primary source of business, as you well know, we are a wellness clinic. But we will treat people who have sustained a legitimate injury. They need help and have the right to receive exceptional care.

I know it seems trite and easy to say, but prevention is the best medicine always, in all ways! So think safety first. The best accident is the one you don't have. Be alert...stay off the phone.

I don't want you or someone you love to be injured or, worse,killed.

God forbid you become injured, but if you do, I'll be happy to help anyway I can.

I don't give legal or insurance advice, but there are two things I've learned over the years. First, there are better ways to pick an attorney than from a commercial or the yellow pages. I'm not saying you need or don't need an attorney, but if you're thinking about retaining one, ask me about it.

Secondly, please speak with your insurance agent and get personal injury protection
(PIP) added to your policy if you don'thave it. It's very inexpensive and pays for medical expenses and lost wages. There are a lot of uninsured drivers out there. You need to protect yourself because medical bills can add up quickly after a trauma. I've seen too many patients suffer a financial loss by not having personal injury protection on their policy. Check it out with your agent.

One last statistic to think about--teenage drivers are four times more likely to get in an accident while texting and driving than adults. We all know they think they are invincible, just as we once did.

Let's all stay safe and healthy!

Dr. Rick Barrett

P.S. I have a free motor vehicle collision report with information
most insurance companies don't want you to know. If you're
interested, let me know