When we think about Distracted Driving, we most likely are picturing a teen driver looking down at their device, texting away, but there is another common culprit that has been pulling driver’s attention away from the road since the invention of the automobile… children.
More Distracting Than Cell Phone Use?
Studies show that driving with children in the back seat can be 12 times more dangerous than cell phone use while driving. 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 generally 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. 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.