Every parent – and of course, every soccer Mom – knows all too well the chaos and confusion that comes with the territory, when you shuttle your children around in the car. What tunes should you play on the radio? How to handle the fights between siblings? Darn, my toddler is crying -- what do I do now? Not to mention just taking care of yourself, be it munching on a cracker or taking a sip of coffee. And, let's not forget that evil of all evils, talking on the cellphone. Every parent multitasks, even in the car – it just seems to go with the territory when you have kids.
And that’s exactly where it gets dangerous – in the car. As a Boston Massachusetts distracted driving accident lawyer, I’ve seen far too many cases where parents took their eyes off the road – to disastrous consequences. A recent study from the University of Michigan tells the horrifying story. Researchers there polled more than 600 parents about their distracted driving. Here are some of the shocking – and frightening statistics – that should make every parent stand up and take notice (except while in the car, of course.) These problems need to be addressed, faster than you can say, “Baby on Board.”
* Child care: 70% of parents polled said they also handled child care simultaneously when driving with children
* Phone calls: 75% said they talked on the phone when driving with their children
* Self-care: 70% admitted to taking care of themselves when driving with their kids
* Texting: 15% said they texted when driving with kids in their cars
* Entertainment: 50% changed a CD or the radio stations when in the car with children
Don’t parents realize how dangerous these practices and habits are? It’s one thing to change the tune on the radio, or to follow directions. But texting? Making phone calls while driving? Picking up your kids’ toys when you’re driving on the highway? How can anyone do these things in good conscience?
The plain, obvious truth is that doing anything but driving – when you are driving – can lead to disaster. Is an irreversible, horrible, perhaps even fatal accident worth not being a little late?
The researchers also discovered this fact: the parents who drove and simultaneously used the phone were more than TWICE AS LIKELY to have had a previous motor vehicle accident. In addition, the same holds true for parents who attended to child care, got directions, or performed self-care (such as putting on lipstick or combing their hair) while in the driver's seat.
I’m once again asking all responsible parents out there to PLEASE PULL OVER when you need to attend to something other than driving – be it administering discipline to your children, listening to the radio, or whatever. And put that smartphone away when you're in the car! Remember, every parent is a role model for their kids – and if you don’t want your kids to text and drive at the same time one day, or multitask while at the wheel, you should follow the same rules for yourself.
Otherwise, as a Route 128 Massachusetts car accident lawyer, I can assure you: Disaster can be just around the corner - and you won't even see it.