There are a lot of risks associated with driving. Large trucks pose a threat to passenger vehicles due to the great size difference, difference in speed, and often fatigued condition of the truck driver. In fact, there are, 10 fatalities per day that involve large trucks, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Drowsy driving is a big issue on the roads as well. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 60 percent of adults report driving drowsy within the last year. Cell phone use is possibly the biggest problem, with Automotive Fleet reporting that 40 percent of all motor vehicle collisions involve the use of a cell phone. When you add in speeding, road rage, bad weather, congested highways, and millions of impatient people, it is no wonder that there are 2.3 million injuries due to road collisions every year, according to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC). What most people are not aware of is that one of the most dangerous, distracting issues for drivers is children. In a 2013 study by Monash University, researchers found that driving with children in the car is 12 times more dangerous than driving while talking on the cell phone.
Just How Distracting Are Children?
In the 2013 study, researchers equipped vehicles with discrete recording systems to monitor the driving of 12 families over a three week period. The average number of children per family was two, and the ages ranged from one to eight years old. Researchers monitored how the parents became distracted by the children such as talking with the child, assisting the child in some way, playing with the child, and, most commonly, turning to look at the child. Taking eyes off the road is one of the most dangerous behaviors that a driver can partake in. Researchers recorded and summed the total time in which the driver looked away from the road for two seconds or longer while the vehicle was in motion. They found that the parents spent a total of three minutes and 22 seconds during the average 16 minute trip. This means that parents are taking their eyes off the road for more than 20 percent of the time while they drive.
Conversations, Cell Phones, and Children Add Up to Tragic Collisions
Of the 92 trips that their study group took, researchers determined that the drivers engaged in dangerous driving behavior in 90 of the trips. The most common types of distraction present in those 90 trips were as follows:
- Turning to look at the child or watching the child in the rear view mirror was present in 76.4 percent of trips;
- Conversation with the child was present in 16 percent of trips;
- Assisting the child was present in seven percent of trips; and
- Playing with the child was present in one percent of trips.
From previous studies, researchers concluded that driving while dialing a phone is 2.8 times the crash risk as driving without dialing, and talking or listening while on the phone is 1.3 times the crash risk. That driving with a child passenger is 12 times as distracting as talking on a cell phone would mean that it increases the risk of crashing by 15.6 times.
What Can Parents Do to Make Driving with Child Passengers Safer?
The study found that having a front seat passenger did not make driving with children significantly safer or change the ways in which the driver interacted with the children. However, by properly securing the child in their seats, researchers believed that that could help reduce driver distraction. They found that 70 percent of the time, the child was not properly restrained in their seat.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury from a distracted driver, contact the Ohio Car Accident Lawyers today for a consultation with one of our experienced Cincinnati, Ohio car accident attorneys.