Dr. Emmy Betz, sent me a note recently saying, “The Emergency Department sees traffic accident victims all the time and it’s frustrating. What happens when patients leave is important to us. The ED staff wants to work with the larger BID team including social workers, case managers and primary care doctors to provide help for those who need it.” So, she and Lissa Kapust decided to join forces. Lissa is a social worker in our behavioral neurology group and is well known for the Drive Wise program at BIDMC, which offers evaluations of drivers who have experienced neurological, psychological or physical impairments.
Noting that 417 people were killed in traffic accidents in Massachusetts in 2007, BIDMC’s Emergency Department was prompted to designate the month of October as Driver Safety Month. “October is timely because the state legislature is debating two major bills. One is about having the RMV test older drivers, which is the first time it has grappled with mandatory testing of drivers,” Lissa notes. “The second bill pushes health care providers to report patients with cognitive problems. There is a new focus in our state on driver safety.”
Emmy and Lissa have partnered to host a “Crash Course in Driver Safety,” an open house and lunch for our staff on Tuesday, Oct. 21, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Speakers from the medical center and external organizations like the RMV will make presentations on a variety of topics from elderly drivers to impaired motorists to seatbelts for children.
By the way, there is some evidence that crash rates go up on election day because voters are in a rush, distracted, and driving in unfamiliar places. Also, I have been told that the Monday after clocks fall back an hour as we go from daylight time to standard time is known as a dangerous travel day. So, this initiative is seems timely on many fronts.