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Published on March 21, 2012

Distracted Driving Can Be A Fatal Mistake; Don't Become A Statistic

COLUMBIA, Mo. ― Lori Popejoy, an assistant professor of nursing at the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing, lost her 16-year-old son in a 2002 car crash involving distracted driving. Today she joined a trauma surgeon and other speakers at University Hospital to promote awareness of the dangers of distracted driving.

In addition to Popejoy, speakers included James Kessel, M.D., a trauma surgeon at University Hospital’s Frank L. Mitchell Jr., MD, Trauma Center, and Colonel Ronald Replogle, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

“Distractions while driving can lead to life-changing motor vehicle crashes and possibly death,” said Kessel. “We see the results of distracted driving in our trauma center at University Hospital, and we want to prevent it.”

Distracted driving is defined as operating a motor vehicle while performing any of the following tasks: talking on a cellular phone, texting, eating, fidgeting with the radio, CD player or navigation system, primping or grooming, adjusting mirrors or even daydreaming. Distractions can occur any time, day or night.

In 2008, an estimated 2.63 million people in the U.S. were injured in motor vehicle crashes. Of those injuries, more than 500,000 people reported involvement of at least one form of distracted driving. Nearly 6,000 people died as a result of known distracted driving-related crashes.

For more information about the dangers of distracted driving, please visit