Parent drivers, child passengers, and distracted driving

Distracted driving is a dangerous practice, something that all drivers should avoid.

But drivers don’t let these dangers stop them from using phones while they drive. In fact, distracted driving is more of a problem than ever.

Over the past two years, there has been a 14.4 percent increase in traffic fatalities in the U.S. Experts contribute this dramatic rise in traffic deaths to an increase in smartphone use while driving.

More drivers have phones, more drivers are using their phones while driving, and drivers are using their phones in more creative ways while driving than in the past.

And drivers can’t stop. Even when their young children are in the car.

A recent study by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania School of Nursing found that half of all parents use their phones while driving while their young children are in the back seat. A total of 760 parents and caregivers were surveyed.

What specific behavior did parents admit to while a child was riding with them?

  • About half of parents reported talking on either a hands-free or hand-held phone while driving
  • One in three parents reported reading texts while driving
  • One in four parents reported sending texts while driving
  • One in seven parents reported using social media while driving

When it comes to distracted driving, there really is no safe way of do it. Distracted driving is not a victimless act. When parents engage in distracted driving, they are putting themselves, their children, other drivers, and pedestrians at risk.

Parents should implement a zero-tolerance approach to distracted driving. This is obviously important for safety reasons. But it is also important for parents to set a good example for the children that are closely watching them from the back seat.

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