Yesterday, American Baby and Safe Kids Worldwide released a poll of almost 2,400 mothers which showed, among other things, that 78% of moms admit to talking on the phone while driving with their children. 24% admit to texting when there are children in the car.
Do you think that nearly 4 out of 5 moms would be willing to drive with their children if they were legally drunk? Probably not. But, the reality is talking on a cell phone in a car is just as dangerous.
Using driving simulators, University of Utah psychologists have published academic studies showing that motorists who talk on cell phones are as impaired as drunken drivers – even if they are using a hands free phone. The Utah studies indicate that cell phone users are 5.4 times more likely to get in an accident than undistracted drivers. The studies have shown this risk is about the same as for drivers with a 0.08 blood-alcohol level. That is about the legal limit in most communities.
So … mom, if you are talking on the cell phone with your kid in the car, you are putting your child at about the same risk as if you drove legally drunk.
Texting while driving is even scarier. One study suggests that it is the risk equivalent of driving with a 0.16 blood-alcohol level. That level would make standing up difficult let along driving. Yet, this latest poll shows that 1 in 4 moms are willing to text while driving with their children in the car.
At Crux Research, we are proud to be on a community-wide team put together by the Ad Council of Rochester that is hoping to address this issue. You can learn more about this effort at www.urthatdistracting.org. We are sure to have many future blog postings on this effort and other issues surrounding distracted driving.