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Are you setting a distracted driving example for your kids?

It seems as though the news is full of stories about fatal accidents caused by distracted driving, both here in Texas and around the country. Most states have outlawed texting while driving, and some have gone so far as to ban handheld cellphone use as well. No matter where you live, however, there is no feigning ignorance of the fact that distracted driving is dangerous and deadly.

So why do American drivers keep doing it? In many cases, young drivers may just be following the example set for them by their parents. According to recent survey conducted in one part of the country, 90 percent of drivers with children admitted to engaging in some form of distracted driving behavior with their kids in the car.

Cellphone use was common. About two-thirds of respondents said they’ve talked on their cellphone behind the wheel. Approximately 15 percent admitted to texting while driving. But cellphones are not the only distractions drivers face. Parents also admitted to:

  • Feeding their kids while driving
  • Picking up dropped toys or other items
  • Eating or drinking
  • Changing the music on the radio or CD player
  • Applying makeup or other acts of personal grooming
  • Sending or reading emails on their phone
  • Programming a GPS device

Life is very busy, and children’s needs don’t go away just because mom or dad is driving. But when we try to multitask behind the wheel, we put ourselves and our children in danger of a car accident. Moreover, we demonstrate that distracted driving is acceptable behavior.

If you have young kids, it may be worth the time and effort to set ground rules for the car on what they can and can’t expect while mom or dad is driving. Avoiding distracted driving is one of those life lessons that will protect your children now and well into the future.

Source: Michigan Live, "Study: 90 percent of parents admit to distracted driving with child on board," Amy Biolchini, April 30, 2014

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