Most people want to teach their kids to do the right thing, and they generally try to model good behavior in front of them. Unfortunately, many parents are falling short of the ideal when it comes to distracted driving. According to a recent study published in Academic Pediatrics, approximately 90% of parent drivers have admitted to at least one of the ten major distractions that researchers measured in their study.
The worst activity that parents tend to do while driving their children is texting. Texting while driving is illegal in many states, and is extremely risky behavior. The study also assessed talking and emailing on the phone. Other distractions considered in the study were eating, drinking, changing the music, personal grooming, feeding children, picking up dropped items, using navigation systems, and reading directions.
The study found that parents were doing these activities both with the child in the vehicle and alone. This research highlights just how common risky behaviors are done while driving. One way to help avoid accidents is for parents to be more aware of the bad habits they are modeling to their children.
Study Highlights the Frequency of Distracted Driving
This study was conducted by faculty from the University of Michigan’s Medical School, School of Public Health, and Injury Center. Researchers surveyed 570 parents of children aged one to 12 who visited emergency departments in C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and the Hurley Medical Center. The survey revealed that with the exception of parents of infants younger than two years of age, almost all parents had driven while distracted using at least one parameter in the study.
While some activities on the list may not be widely publicized as distractions, even highly frowned upon or even illegal distractions were not uncommonly reported in the survey. Nearly two-thirds of parents surveyed reported talking on a cell phone while driving and 15% admitted to sending text messages while their children were in the car.
The most common activities done while driving children were directly related to the children themselves, such as feeding or picking up a toy. Although parents may deem these activities necessary, these actions carry a risk. Dr. Michelle L. Macy, the lead author on the study stated, “This just highlights the need to consider multiple sources of driver distraction when kids are passengers. Giving food to a child or picking up a toy for a child requires a driver to not only take their hands off the wheel but also take their eyes off the road.”
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