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Driving with Children in the Backseat? A Must-Read

Ever turned to attend to your child in the backseat as you’ve been driving? Or done a quick check on them in the rear-view mirror? According to a new study out of Monash University Accident Research Centre, you are in the majority of parent drivers, and your children are 12 times more distracting to you than talking on a mobile phone while driving.

Over a three week period, researchers observed 12 families with children aged between one and eight years, in a total of 92 trips. Drivers were observed engaging in potentially distracting activities – distracting activities included looking away from the road in front for more than two seconds – in 90 out of the 92 trips.

On average, parents took their eyes off the road for three minutes and 22 seconds during a 16 minute trip. In the study, the most frequent types of distractions included turning to look at the child in the rear seat or watching the rear-view mirror (76.4 per cent), engaging in conversation with the child (16 per cent), assisting the child (7 per cent) and playing with the child (1 per cent).

Associate Professor Charlton said the findings highlight  the need for education about the risks of focusing on children in a moving car rather than the road. “The costs of distracted driving are undeniable. One major and previously unrecognised distraction is kids in the backseat.”

And having a passenger in the front seat did not significantly affect the results either.

Parents are advised to consider the increased risk to safety when focussing on their children while driving, instead of the road.  And with the researchers finding that children were in the incorrect position for over 70 per cent of the journey time, correct restraint in the car is recommended as potentially reducing driver distraction.

Image from freedigitalphotos.net
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