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Driving with Children: The Ultimate Distraction

In a first-of-its-kind study, Monash University researchers have found children are 12 times more distracting to a driver than talking on a mobile phone while at the wheel. According to the study, parents typically take their eyes off the road for about 3 minutes and 22 seconds during a 16-minute car trip — time spent tending to children instead of focusing on the road.
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The Australian study looked at the driving habits of 12 families by installing cameras into their vehicles. All families had children between 5 and 8. Of the 92 car trips that were observed, researchers found that parents engaged in child-related distractions in 90 of the trips. The researchers then reviewed all video for potentially distracting driver behaviors where the driver took their eyes off the road. Researchers found that parents were much more likely to engage in distractions involving their children than distractions involving cell phones.

Our Cape Coral car accident lawyers understand the holidays are a busy time for family travel – so take notice of these risks and do your part to keep you and your family safe. Whether crying infants on the morning commute, fighting teenagers or other factors, the risks are real. The truth of the matter is that distracted driving is thought to be the cause of 80 percent of all crashes. Officials with AAA found that children are about four times as distracting to drivers as adult passengers, while babies make it eight times harder to concentrate. When a child needs attention a mothers’ instincts are to turn round and deal with the child. But you can’t take your eyes off the road for a moment because losing concentration, even for a couple of seconds, can be deadly.

Believe it or not, fathers were more likely to engage in distracting activities with their children and were typically distracted for a longer period than mothers.

Before hitting the road, you want to make sure that you secure children in their seat. If they happen to need your attention, be sure to pull off the road safely to care for them. Reaching into the backseat can cause you to lose control of the vehicle. If you can’t pull over immediately, as unpleasant as it can be, tell your kids that you cannot help because you are driving and that they need to wait until you can pull over or until you get to your destination. You may have to listen to a tantrum, but at least the child is restrained in a seat.

Make sure your children understand the rules of the road. Let them know what you expect from them inside the vehicle. If they drop something onto the floor, parents need to make sure that their children know that they must not pick it up until the car stops.

Consider feeding your children before heading out to make sure there are no food-related issues. If you can’t feel them, make sure that you always keep a snack bag nearby.

Keep your kids busy and occupied. Usually, bored and impatient kids tend to ask a lot of questions that might take focus away from the road. Such questions might be based on how long the journey is or any other subject that might steal your focus. While it’s true that edgy kids are a common cause of distraction for any driver, keeping them occupied with toys, travel games and books can be the best solution.

Call today if you or your child has been injured in an accident. We offer free and confidential consultation to discuss victim’s rights. Call 1-800-283-2900.

More Blog Entries:

Protecting Children from Dangerous Gifts this Holiday Season, Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, December 19, 2013
Child Injuries, Product Liability & Holiday Risks , Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, December 17, 2013