Recent Pair of Distracted Driving Studies Reveals Extent of the Problem
Two recent studies of distracted driving have revealed just how much of a problem this behavior has become.
The first was a report from the National Safety Council revealing that the role of cell phone use in fatal collisions has been vastly under reported. According to the study, over half of all cell phone-related traffic fatalities may be going unreported.
The second study was performed by the University of Michigan and underlined the fact that distracted driving is not something unique to teenagers. The emergency room study of 654 parents sought to determine distractions to drivers of child passengers. The results were compelling.
Driving Children Under 12
Three out of four parents reported using a cell phone while transporting children under 12 years old. Responding to the need of a child and personal grooming or eating by the driver tied for a strong second place.
Setting the Example
The ramifications of engaging in distracted driving while transporting children is more subtle than the immediate risk to the child. Parents or other authority figures are observed closely by the child.
Choosing to engage in risky driving practices is teaching those behaviors to the child. Such children may grow up to become teenage drivers who practice unsafe behaviors behind the wheel as well.
Cell Phones and Beyond
While no states have banned cell phone use while driving, some states have banned handheld cell phone usage. Many states such as Florida have enacted laws against texting while driving.
Texting and cell phone use are not the only driving distraction according to the University of Michigan survey. Distractions listed included:
- Phone calls
- Attending to the needs of the child passenger (retrieving toys, feeding)
- Personal grooming
- Eating while driving
- Using a navigation system or map
- Adjusting a radio or inserting a CD
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In 2011, distracted driving contributed to more than 3,000 deaths. Florida residents who are the victims of distracted drivers may wish to seek legal advice from a Tampa car crash lawyer.