Distracted driving is the topic of many articles, stories, blogs more and more these days. People talk of the dangers of cell phone use and texting, eating or adjusting your radio, but one of the biggest distracted driving causes may be a little closer to home than you realize…your children!
More Distracting Than Cell Phone Use?
Driving with children isn’t just slightly more dangerous; it’s a full 12 times more dangerous, according to a study by Monash University Accident Research Center in Australia. When researchers installed cameras in the cars of 12 families over a three-week period, they found talking on the phone only accounted for one percent of distractions. Distractions from children, meanwhile, accounted for 12 percent of all distractions. Over the course of an average 16-minute trip, parents that had kids present spent three minutes and 22 seconds with their eyes not on the road.
Is There a Solution?
Choosing not to use a cell phone while driving is admittedly easier than deciding not to ride with children. Often, the latter is unavoidable, making solving the problem and reducing the distraction risk all the more challenging. Charlton explained that the easiest solution may simply be securing the child’s car seat properly. Researchers found that children were in the incorrect position for over 70 percent of their studied trips.
Given the added risks of driving with children, drivers should be even more aware of their sources of distraction.