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Parents just as likely to use cell phones while driving, putting child passengers at risk
Date:4/30/2014

Ann Arbor, Mich. 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
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Contact: Mary Masson
mfmasson@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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