Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Parents just as likely to use cell phones while driving as other drivers, putting child passengers at risk

Date:
April 30, 2014
Source:
University of Michigan Health System
Summary:
Despite their precious cargo, parents are no less likely to engage in driving distractions like cell phone use than drivers from the general population, according to a new study. The study found that 90 percent of parent drivers said they engaged in at least one of the 10 distractions examined in the study while their child was a passenger and the vehicle was moving.

The study found that 90 percent of parent drivers said they engaged in at least one of the 10 distractions examined in the study while their child was a passenger and the vehicle was moving.
Credit: Lisa F. Young / Fotolia

Despite their precious cargo, parents are no less likely to engage in driving distractions like cell phone use than drivers from the general population, according to a new University of Michigan study published in Academic Pediatrics.

The study found that 90 percent of parent drivers said they engaged in at least one of the 10 distractions examined in the study while their child was a passenger and the vehicle was moving, says lead author Michelle L. Macy, M.D., M.S., an emergency medicine physician at the University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.

The study, conducted in two Michigan emergency departments, showed about two-thirds of the study respondents said they've talked on cellular phones while driving their child and one-third said they've texted while driving their child, consistent with other studies in the general population.

But, importantly, drivers in this survey admitted to other distractions, such as giving food to their child more frequently than they disclosed talking on a cellular phone, Macy says.

"This just highlights the need to consider multiple sources of driver distraction when kids are passengers. Giving food to a child or picking up a toy for a child not only requires a driver to take their hands off the wheel but also take their eyes off the road," Macy says.

Each year, more than 130,000 children younger than 13 are treated in U.S. emergency departments after motor-vehicle collision-related injuries. About one in six fatal motor-vehicle collisions in the U.S. in 2008 resulted from driver distraction, and Macy says that over time that percentage has likely increased.

Researchers also found that those parents with higher education and who were non-Hispanic whites were more likely to report cellular phone and directions-related distractions like use of navigation systems.

"If this finding is a result of greater access to technology among more highly educated and non-Hispanic white parents, we can expect the problem of techonology-based distractions to expand because national rates of cell phone ownership in the U.S. have climbed above 90 percent," Macy says.

The study was conducted by faculty from the U-M Medical School, School of Public Health and the U-M Injury Center.

The study was conducted at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital pediatric emergency department, located in Ann Arbor, Mich., and the Hurley Medical Center emergency department located in Flint, Mich. The U-M location serves a predominantly white, privately insured population and the Flint location has a higher proportion of African American patients covered by Medicaid compared with U-M.

The study is based on responses of 570 parents of 1 to 12 year old children who arrived in the emergency departments of the two hospitals.

Whether a driver engaged in a distraction also was significantly associated with the age of the child, Macy says. Odds of reporting a child-related distraction was higher among parents of children between the ages of 2 and 8 than among parents of 1-year-olds. Macy says she is concerned as well about whether parents are modeling the right behaviors in front of children who will eventually learn to drive.

"We know there are some limitations to this study, especially that people are often reluctant to disclose that they engage in dangerous, and in the case of text messaging in Michigan, illegal behaviors while driving," says Macy.

"But our results do highlight the fact that child passengers are frequents being exposed to the risks of distracted driving.

"Efforts to improve child passenger safety have often focused on increased and proper use of restraining seats. But this study shows that reducing distractions and discouraging unsafe behaviors could prevent crashes."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Michelle L. Macy, Patrick M. Carter, C. Raymond Bingham, Rebecca M. Cunningham, Gary L. Freed. Potential Distractions and Unsafe Driving Behaviors Among Drivers of 1- to 12-Year-Old Children. Academic Pediatrics, 2014; 14 (3): 279 DOI: 10.1016/j.acap.2014.02.010

Cite This Page:

University of Michigan Health System. "Parents just as likely to use cell phones while driving as other drivers, putting child passengers at risk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140430132818.htm>.
University of Michigan Health System. (2014, April 30). Parents just as likely to use cell phones while driving as other drivers, putting child passengers at risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140430132818.htm
University of Michigan Health System. "Parents just as likely to use cell phones while driving as other drivers, putting child passengers at risk." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140430132818.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins