Jeffrey Testifies about Dangers of Distracted Driving
State legislators gathered February 2 in a hearing room at the Texas Capitol to consider the merits of a statewide ban on texting while driving, a known contributor to traffic fatalities.
Surrounded by photos and grieving family members of those who have died in such accidents, members of law enforcement, the medical community, and others spoke to the impact of distracted driving on Texans’ lives.
Among those who testified was Dr. Doug Jeffrey, an ESP emergency physician based at Seton Medical Center Williamson in Round Rock. He is also Director of the Texas College of Emergency Physicians (TCEP) Leadership and Advocacy Fellowship.
“It was quite an event–extremely emotional,” Jeffrey said. “There we multiple families present with pictures of their lost loved ones, and several who spoke and told their stories.”
Other constituencies spoke as well. For example, an AT&T representative described one of their programs that discourages texting and driving.
“I was the physician who gave our medical point of view,” Jeffrey said. “I actually got pretty choked up with the emotion in the room while describing our role and how the hardest part of my job is talking to families who have lost loved ones in accidents. I reiterated, as the police officer from Houston who spoke mentioned, that these fatal crashes aren’t accidents, but are really choices when people choose to text.”
House Bill 62 and Senate Bill 31, also known as the Alex Brown Memorial Act, is sponsored by former House Speaker Tom Craddick (R-Midland) and Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo). Similar bills have been rejected by the governor and/or the state Senate during four previous legislative sessions, with opponents citing the would-be law’s intrusive government micromanagement.
Proponents of a statewide ban note that the proliferation of smart phones increases the temptation for drivers to not only talk and text, but also to scan social media and other online media while behind the wheel.
According to testimony, 95 Texas cities and 46 states have already enacted bans on cell phone use while driving.
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About Emergency Service Partners
Founded in 1988, Emergency Service Partners is a physician-owned practice management group specializing in hospital emergency departments (EDs), serving more than 35 EDs across Texas. In addition, ESP provides pulmonary, intensive care, sleep medicine, hospitalist, and ob/gyn hospitalist services in Central Texas. ESP owns and operates Five Star ER, a group of freestanding emergency centers in the Austin area. In January 2017, ESP became a founding partner of US Acute Care Solutions, the national leader in physician-owned emergency medicine, hospitalist and observation services, and now operates as USACS Southwest.