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Poll shows most parents are distracted behind the wheel

University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

It turns out parents are just as likely as other motorists to talk on the phone, eat, text or engage in other risky distractions behind the wheel, even with their kids in the car.

University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital quizzed hundreds of parents with young children about their driving habits.

It turns out 90 percent admit to using their mobile phones, eating and feeding their kids while behind the wheel.

“Our parents in this survey weren’t doing any better than what we see for national averages,” says Michelle Macy, the study’s lead author, “They’re not making a conscience decision to be safer when their kids are in the car.”

About one in six fatal motor-vehicle collisions in the U.S. in 2008 resulted from driver distraction.

Each year, more than 130,000 children, younger than 13, are treated in U.S. emergency departments after motor-vehicle collision-related injuries.

“I think that these and other activities where a driver’s eyes are off the road and hands are off the wheel are really important for us to be focusing on because those are the ones that increase the chances of a crash most,” Macy says. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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