In 2023, our Elvis Presley Trauma Center treated over 2,000 patients for injuries from automobile accidents.

It’s the most common type of injury our team treated, but the good news is many of these injuries can be prevented.

By using your seatbelt, avoiding distractions, following the rules of the road and more, you can keep yourself, your loved ones and our community safe!

Driving is something many of us do every single day – so it’s important to be aware of the fact that motor vehicle accidents are a common source of serious injury, and that there are things you can do to help reduce your risk.

“In the United States, motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death, killing over 100 people every day,” said Geretta Hollins, Community Outreach/Injury Prevention Program Coordinator for Burn/Trauma Services at Regional One Health. “Fortunately, motor vehicle crash injuries and deaths can be preventable when you follow some common sense actions.”

Here in the Mid-South, Hollins said, motor vehicle crash injuries were the most common type of injury treated in 2023 at the Elvis Presley Trauma Center, accounting for 2,229 patients.

With that in mind, the experts at our Elvis Presley Trauma Center and Firefighters Burn Center are offering advice to stay safe on the roadways.

Hollins said wearing a seatbelt and telling other people in the vehicle to wear a seatbelt is one of the most important ways to stay safe.

“Buckle up every seat, every trip,” she said. “Wearing seatbelts and properly buckling children into age- and size-appropriate car seats and booster seats can reduce the risk for serious injury and death in a crash by at least half.”

Wearing your seatbelt and making sure children are in appropriate car seats is one of the best ways to avoid serious injuries from automobile accidents.

Distracted driving is another leading cause of accidents and injuries. Never use your cellphone while driving, Hollins said, and avoid other common distractions.

“Anything that takes your attention away from driving can be a distraction,” Hollins explained. “Sending a text message, talking on a cell phone, using a navigation system, and eating while driving are just a few examples of distracted driving. Any of these distractions can endanger you, your passengers, and others on the road.”

Along with avoiding distractions, never drive when you are impaired by alcohol or drugs – not only is it illegal, it can be deadly.

Hollins said impaired driving happens when someone operates a vehicle while under the influence of a substance like marijuana, other illicit drugs, some prescribed or over-the-counter medicines, or alcohol. These substances can have a negative effect on coordination, vision, judgment and reasoning, which leads to dangerous driving.

Accidents can also be caused by something as simple as driving too fast or not adjusting to real-time conditions like bad weather.

Every time you get behind the wheel, be vigilant about obeying the speed limit and other traffic rules. Be especially vigilant in school and construction zones, Hollins said, and always watch for pedestrians and be considerate at crosswalks.

Finally, practice attentive driving, especially in bad weather. Do not drive if you are overly tired or sleepy.

Always avoid distractions while driving, such as using your cellphone or eating and drinking. Anything that distracts you can lead to an accident.

The Elvis Presley Trauma Center is the only Level-1 Trauma Center in a 150-mile radius of Memphis. A multispecialty team of experts is available 24/7 to treat the most critically injured patients from Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, and parts of Missouri.

The Firefighters Burn Center is the only full-service burn center in 400 miles of Memphis that is verified by the American Burn Association. It provides comprehensive care including emergency and critical care, intensive care, specialized burn rehabilitation, and laser and plastic surgery.

Learn more about our burn and trauma services at and