90 percent of parents drive distracted

90 percent of parents drive distracted

A whopping 90 percent of parents say they multitask even when their kids are passengers, according to a recent study.

Researchers at the University of Michigan found that mom and dad are “no less likely to engage in driving distractions like cell phone use than drivers from the general population.”

“This just highlights the need to consider multiple sources of driver distraction when kids are passengers,” said Dr. Michelle L. Macy, an emergency medicine physician at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, in a news release. “Giving food to a child or picking up a toy for a child not only requires a driver to take their hands off the wheel but also take their eyes off the road.”

More than 130,000 children younger than 13 are treated in U.S. emergency departments after motor-vehicle collision-related injuries, study leaders said. About one in six fatal motor-vehicle collisions in the U.S. in 2008 resulted from driver distraction.

The most common distractions reported were talking on the phone and texting. Other parents admitted they were distracted while trying to give their kids snacks while driving or by monitoring digital maps.

Researchers evaluated responses from nearly 600 parents of kids from ages 1-12, who showed up in emergency rooms, for the study.

Macy said that keeping kids safe isn’t just about having the right car seat.

“Efforts to improve child passenger safety have often focused on increased and proper use of restraining seats. But this study shows that reducing distractions and discouraging unsafe behaviors could prevent crashes,” she said.

Dr. James Cole, trauma surgeon at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill., has seen one too many fatal distracted driving accidents.

“My message to everyone is to save the texting for when you arrive,” he says. “You could be saving a life.”

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One Comment

  1. We have a long way to go before people listen to this important message and adopt text-free driving behavior every time they’re on the road.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.