Child Passengers Distract More Than You Think

March 17, 2016

Researchers at Monash University have discovered just how distracting children in the backseat can be. Most people are aware of the distractions caused by cell phones, which is why the researchers decided to compare the distractions of children to that of talking on a phone while driving. The study chose 12 families with children and installed hidden recording devices in each of their vehicles to monitor just how distracting the children were. Over the course of three weeks, the families carried on driving like they normally would, while cameras pointed at the drivers’ eyes monitored how much time they spent looking off the road, as well as recording other distractions. They found that driving with children in the car is 12 times more distracting than talking on a cell phone. If you were hit by a distracted driver and injured, you may be able to be compensated for your damages. Contact an experienced Columbia car accident attorney to learn more.

The 2013 Monash University Study Details

One of the most prominent reasons that talking on a cell phone or texting is the time spent looking away from the road. The time it takes to reach for a phone, dial, or accept the call takes longer than most people think. And, of course, texting requires the driver’s eyes to be off the road 100 percent of the time while they read or reply to a text. The second reason that electronic devices are so distracting and dangerous is that they take the driver’s mind off the action of driving and places it within the conversation they are having. The distractions of driving with children accomplish both of these criteria as well. Researchers found that their study group took their eyes off the road for 20 percent of driver time when children were present. Children distracted the driver in 98 percent of trips taken, and of those trips the parents were distracted by turning and looking at their child or by looking at their child in the rearview mirror in 76.4 percent of those trips. Other forms of distraction were assisting the child, playing with the child, and engaging in distracted conversation with the child.

Driving with a Child Increases the Risk of Crashing by 15.6 Times

While driving with children is incredibly distracting, and dangerous, nearly everything that gets put on a driver’s plate in addition to driving increases the risk of crashing. Even other adult passengers create distractions. However, driving with children is on another level entirely. Children in the car raise the risk of crashing by 15.6 times or 1,560 percent, compared to talking on the cell phone which increases the chance of crashing by 1.3 times, or 130 percent. Being aware of this can help parents pay more attention to the road and less to the distractions in the backseat. Additionally, by strapping the children in more securely in their carseat, researchers concluded that parents could potentially decrease their distraction. 70 percent of the children were not properly secured in their carseats during the study. If you have been injured by a distracted driver, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced Columbia, South Carolina attorney at the law offices of The Connell Law Firm, LLC today.