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One of the Worst Driver Distractions is Your Kids

People have done all kinds of dangerous things that distract them while driving – from spilling their coffee to texting on a cell phone to driving drunk – but one of the worst distractions that are affecting most parents every day is driving with their kids in the backseat of the car.

In 2013, ABC News reported on a first-of-its-kind study, where Australian researchers found that children are 12 times more distracting to their parents than talking on a cell phone. The findings also found that on average, parents take their eyes off the road for three minutes and 22 seconds during a 16-minute road trip.

When the kids are in the car, parents are breaking up fights, adjusting the DVD player, handing their kids their phones and tablets to play video games, and calming fussy babies. According to AAA, those fussy babies are eight times more distracting than adult passengers.

ABC Reporter Puts Herself to the Test

So, ABC’s Paula Faris, a mother of two, decided to put herself to the test. She considered herself a safe driver, but didn’t realize the danger she was subjecting her children to until she mounted GoPro cameras in her van to capture the family’s typical Saturday morning.

Charlie Klauer, a distracted driving expert and transportation engineer at Virginia Tech’s Transportation Institute, and her team agreed to analyze Faris’ dangerous driving habits, which Klauer’s team calls “eyes-off-the-road” moments.

While analyzing the footage, Klauer pointed out how at one point Faris was driving 55 to 60 miles per hours on the highway and her “eyes-off-the-road” time to glance at her children was four seconds. In another instance, Klauer noted how Faris was distracted when one of her kids handed her an empty snack wrapper.

At one point Faris reached for her cell phone, which took her eyes off the road for six seconds.

Klauer said that they have analyzed text messages, and a text typically takes from seven to nine seconds to do and the driver’s eyes are off the road for at least half the time, if not longer.

Faris noted that on that Saturday trip, she also adjusted her rearview mirror so she could keep an eye on her kids, and in another moment she adjusted the DVD player.

According to the Australian study, fathers are the worst offenders; children distract them for longer periods of time, ABC reported.

Driving with children, especially young children can be stressful at times. Experts suggest that you set up car rules so your kids know what to expect. Make sure they know that if they drop something, the driver won’t be able to pick it up until they park the car.

Were you injured by a distracted driver? Contact a Plano car accident attorney from The Zendeh Del Law Firm to file a claim for compensation!