According to survey results presented by the Pediatric Academic Societies at its recent annual meeting, many parents on the road are putting their children at risk. The survey of more than 600 parents was conducted by the University of Michigan and investigated driving behavior when it comes to distractions, child restraints and previous driving history.
Michelle Macy, clinical lecturer in the Departments of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics at University of Michigan and C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, said that while there is a focus on curbing distracted driving in teens, the survey showed that parents are more frequently distracted while driving their children aged 1 to 12 years old and that these drivers were more likely to have been in a crash.
Of the respondents, nearly 90 percent said they engaged in at least one technology-based distraction while behind the wheel with their child present in the car in the last month. Most of the respondents indicated having been involved with this type of distraction four to 10 times in the last month.
Parents say they wish they did more for kids with a license
As motor vehicle accidents are the No. 1 cause of death in teens, parents should be setting a good example for new drivers. According to a separate survey from Allstate Foundation, nearly 50 percent of parents indicated that they regretted not monitoring their teen driver after they got their license, while 66 percent said they wish the spent more time practicing high-risk situations.
"We know from our research that parents are the No.1 source of information for teen drivers, yet 40 percent don't know car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens," said Vicky Dinges, vice president of corporate social responsibility at Allstate. "Drive it Home can help protect teen drivers, educate parents on the crucial role they play in the driving process, and help ensure our sons and daughters return home each and every night."
The study also revealed that nearly 30 percent of parents are not establishing rules around certain dangerous behaviors, like driving at night or having passengers in the car.
"Parents are looking for information that can help them manage their teens' driving experience and need additional tools that take a variety of non-traditional approaches to capture their attention," said Janet Froetscher, chief executive officer at the National Safety Council. "The National Safety Council researched the behaviors and messages that appealed most with parents and used it to inform the Drive it Home program. We know different parents respond to different kinds of messages."