Are My Children Distracting Me While I Drive?

Are My Children Distracting Me While I Drive?

Whenever a driver’s eyes drift from the road for more than one second, it increases the risk of that driver being involved in a collision. Not only do wandering eyes increase the chance of the driver drifting into an oncoming lane of traffic, swerving into the next lane of cars, missing a curve and ending up in the ditch, or rolling over off the road, but when our eyes are not on the road scanning our surroundings and keeping note of where other vehicles are going, it greatly increases our reaction time. This means that if someone up ahead slams the brakes to avoid a deer or an erratic lane change of another driver, we may not have time to stop.

Of 1.7 million rear end crashes each year, 1,700 people lose their lives and an additional 500,000 are seriously injured. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, 80% of those injuries and fatalities could be avoided if every car came with a collision avoidance system to alert the driver of an impending rear end situation. However, that technology is not yet standard, and furthermore, it is not needed if drivers pay proper attention to the road.

No Parent Wants to Put Children at Risk

What does this have to do with driving with children in the car? Aren’t cell phones and other electronic devices more distracting than a few children in the backseat? While talking on the cell phone is incredibly dangerous while driving, and texting is, in fact, six times more dangerous than driving with an illegal blood alcohol content of 0.08, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, children greatly increase the risk of crashing. While no parent intentionally puts his or her child in danger by taking his or her eyes off the road, children cause distractions that parents have a hard time ignoring.

Driving with Children in the Car is 12 Times More Distracting than Talking on a Cell Phone

A study done at Monash University in 2013 reports that children in the car are 12 times more distracting than talking on a cell phone. Researchers found that, on average, parents spent three minutes and 22 seconds of 16 minute-long drives with their eyes off the road when driving with their children. That equates to just over 20% of the time. Parents also spent time assisting their children, engaging in distracting conversations, and playing with their children. However, the most dangerous distraction presented was the amount of time that parents turned to look at their children or the time spent looking at them in the rearview mirror.

By properly securing their children, the researchers proposed that some distractions could be prevented, as 70% of the time children were not restrained properly. Other than that, parents should refrain from assisting or looking at their children when the car is in motion, due to the greatly increased chance of crashing both of those activities pose. If you have been injured in an auto accident, contact an experienced accident attorney today for legal council.

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