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Do As I Say, Not As I Do: Distracted Driving Survey Yields Poor Results

Many parents with teenaged children are alarmed by attachment their kids have to cell phones, tablets and other technology. When the time comes to focus on an important task, such as driving safely, will the next generation be willing and able to put down their phones? A recent survey suggests that parents are not setting much of an example for their children when it comes to distracted driving. Roughly 90 percent of parents acknowledged having succumbed to one or more of the 10 major distractions suggested by researchers while driving, even when their children were riding along in the vehicle. For safety advocates working to reduce the dangerous incidents involving distracted drivers, the survey results are alarming.

The survey targeted parents of children ages 1 to 12. It questioned participants about a variety of distractions, including eating, drinking, texting, reading directions and other activities that draw attention away from the act of driving. One common distraction among the group was talking on a cell phone. More than 60 percent of participants admitted to talking on the phone while driving with their children in the car.

Even more common were reports of parents feeding their children or picking up toys and other objects for their kids while driving. The question highlights a difficult decision many parents are forced to make when driving: is a moment's attention more valuable than avoiding a temper tantrum. Parents might even think that they are avoiding a distraction by preventing a tantrum. The truth is that taking your eyes off the road for even a moment can be fatal for you and your child. A tantrum is nothing compared to a fatal car crash.

Source: MLive Media Group, "Study: 90 percent of parents admit to distracted driving with child on board," by Amy Biolchini, 30 April 2014

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