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.
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
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
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,
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!