Children Distract Drivers Far More Than Phones Do

In their study, Monash University researchers put a number on it: During a 16-minute trip, the average parent takes their eyes off the road for nearly three and a half minutes.

What's the Latest Development?

Monash University researchers put a discreet video recording system inside the cars of families with children between the ages of one and eight to see how their attention varied when the children were in the car. Of 92 trips examined, 90 of them included incidents of distracted driving, including looking at the child, either by turning in their seat or looking through the rear-view mirror (76.4 percent) and talking with the child (16 percent).

What's the Big Idea?

Many causes of distracted driving have been examined in recent years, including texting and talking on a phone, but the Monash study is the first that attempts to bring children into the discussion. Study co-author Judith Charlton says that most drivers don't think of their children as distractions, but the findings showed that during a 16-minute trip, the average test subject took their eyes off the road for nearly three and a half minutes. One possible connection the team discovered was that children were incorrectly restrained for over 70 percent of the travel time.

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