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Biggest Distractions For Parents Behind The Wheel

May 08, 2013 -- 10:09am

We all know how distracted we become when using our cell phones while driving. For parents, there are even more distractions! The University of Michigan did a study that outlined the top distractions for parents while driving. As you might imagine, texting is on the list but other distractions made the list, as well. 

So what are they?


Researchers at the University of Michigan recently spent eight months conducting a study at two of the state's hospitals. Between October 2011 and May 2012, the team interviewed parents and caregivers of children ages one through 12 who'd been brought to the emergency rooms at those facilities. During the interviews, respondents were asked how often they'd performed certain distracting activities while driving within the previous month. According to a press release, "[t]hese behaviors included talking on the phone (hands-free or handheld), texting/surfing the Internet, self-care (grooming, eating), child care (picking up a toy, feeding their child), getting directions (navigation system, map) and changing a CD or DVD." 

Most drivers had succumbed to at least four of the ten distractions suggested by the study's researchers. But while child-care did rank high on the list, it wasn't number one. Here are the top six results, in reverse order:

 6. Texting

 5. Entertainment

 4. Directions

 3. Self-care

 2. Child-care

 1. Phone calls

... Also worth pointing out: drivers who hadn't buckled up their kids (as Michigan law requires) were 2½ times more likely to report being distracted by child-care. (They're called "restraints" for a reason.) For reason yet to be determined, those folks were also more likely to have texted from behind the wheel than their law-abiding counterparts.

Return to: Rick Shockley's Blog Blog


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