Could a social movement save lives during prom and graduation season? | Hartford Hospital




May 06, 2022

As we head into spring, it’s time for proms and graduations and all the celebrations that come with these milestones. But it’s also a dangerous time for teens and young adults, as the risk of alcohol-related car crashes increases. Although drunk driving among teens has declined 54% nationally since 1991, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car crashes are the leading cause of death among teens and, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, about a third of them are alcohol related. . Connecticut ranks fourth in the nation for impaired driving per capita. According to the Connecticut Department of Transportation, the percentage of alcohol-impaired driving crashes in Connecticut is 37%, 9% higher than the US average, while the percentage of alcohol-impaired fatalities drunk driving in the state is 44% to 11% higher than national statistics. About six percent of the fatally injured drinking drivers were under the legal drinking age, the DOT reports. Jonathan Gates, MD, MBA, FACS, chief of surgery at Hartford Hospital with a specialty in trauma surgery, said over his 40-year career, “I see the effects of impaired driving every night. We see the end result. We see the dead and the wounded. Last summer, Hartford Health Care launched the “Not One More” campaign. Funded by a $550,000 highway safety grant from the Connecticut Department of Transportation, it brings together the state’s 12 trauma centers for a statewide awareness campaign. The message of “Not One More” highlights the fateful decision to have “just one more drink” and the domino effect of impaired driving. While the “Not One More” campaign focused on adults of legal drinking age, the idea of ​​creating a community that looks out for each other and stops someone from making a life-threatening decision finds a resonate with people of all ages, including teenagers. Social movements “allow people to intervene to save a life”, he added. Even if you think it’s not your place to intervene, or it might be embarrassing, intervening and helping someone realize they can’t drive safely “should give you a sense of satisfaction. You may have saved at least one life. Gates said a fatal alcohol-related car crash doesn’t just affect the person or people who die. “Their family, their friends, often the whole community, they never really recover from something like this,” he said. “It has a huge devastating effect on everyone.”

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