The result: More than 70 percent said they had been distracted by phone calls, with more than half of those saying their mobile phone was a distraction the majority of trips they took.
Nearly as many said they had tried to feed their child or deal with their things while driving. Again, more than half of those parents said this happened the majority of times they got behind the wheel.
Self-grooming was a distraction for just shy of 70 percent of those polled, while more than half admitted to trying to sort out directions while driving.
Changing the music in their car had been a distraction for about half of parents. The least common distraction noted was texting, which a little more than 10 percent of parents said was an issue for them.
Those drivers who said such distractions were an issue also were more likely to have been in a car crash at some point.
Contributing to such risk was the question of proper use of child restraints. Those who drove while their child was not properly strapped into a car seat, booster or seat belt (depending on age) were two and a half times as likely to be distracted in some way by their child while driving.
Car-restraint use in kids varied by race, the researchers said, with age-appropriate use found among 86 percent of white parents, 65 percent of black parents and 70 percent of parents from other racial groups.
The authors also observed that parents with higher education and higher income levels were the most likely to be distracted while driving their child around.
"The message here is that a parent's eyes and hands need to be giving full attention to the most important job at the moment while driving their child around, and that is driving," Macy said. "It may be inconvenient, but it's a question of personal responsibility, and of staying focused. Because not everyone is able to self-regulate, it may be that more state and local legislation is ne
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