Study: too many drivers distracted by kids in the backseat

A major cause of car accidents in the Edwardsville area is distracted driving. Whether it is due to texting, talking or being a deejay, many drivers are letting their attention stray from the road. A recent study suggests that electronics are not the most dangerous distraction a person can have in the car, however. The worst distraction is actually children–question-asking, snack-requesting, fussy children.

The study took place in Australia, where researchers found that children actually distract drivers 12 times more than cellphones. This is because when parents are behind the wheel they may be busy calming babies and breaking up tussles among siblings, among other tasks.

According to the study, on average parents’ eyes stray from the roads for about 3 and a half minutes during a 16-minute drive to check up on their kids. Checking a text message typically takes drivers about eight seconds, and even that is more than enough time to cause a terrible car accident.

Just as people should cut out distractions such as cellphones when they are behind the wheel, it is important to limit the amount of distraction coming from children in the backseats. This can be done by establishing rules with children. For example, children must be aware that should they drop a toy or a snack during a drive, the parent driver cannot pick that item up until the car is completely stopped.

It can also be helpful to have the children’s area of the vehicle organized, with toys and snacks in places where the children can access them so the parent driver can keep his or her hands on the wheel.

Distracted driving causes far too many accidents here in Illinois and throughout the country, and it is important to curb these habits. Those who have been injured in a car accident may be able to hold the other driver accountable if he or she allowed a distraction to lead to an accident. Skilled personal injury attorneys can help car accident victims seek this type of legal recourse.

Source: ABC News, “One of the Worst Driving Distractions on the Road: Your kids,” Paula Faris, March 19, 2013

  • Our law firm helps victims of car accidents in Southern Illinois and Missouri obtain compensation for their injuries.