A new survey has found that driving with children in the car is 12 times more distracting than using a mobile phone at the wheel.

The tests discovered that parents spent almost 20 per cent of their journey turning around to tend to children or taking their eyes off the road to check on naughty behaviour behind them.

The study carried out in by Monash University in Melbourne recruited 12 families that regularly used the car to get around and installed small cameras into the vehicles to monitor driving habits over a three-week period.

Results proved that in 90 of the 92 journeys carried out, drivers became easily distracted by the goings-on in the back seats – this included anything that made them look away from the road ahead for more than two seconds at a time.

In most cases, this involved turning round to look directly at them or checking them in the rear-view mirror.

Other notable distractions included physically playing with children while driving, with 2.5 minutes of one 16-minute journey dedicated to playtime with a child in the rear seats.

The results concluded that driving with young children in the car was a staggering 12-times more distracting than driving while talking on a mobile phone.

Professor Judith Charlton from the university's Accident Research Centre told The Mail Online: “Drivers often don’t consider their own children to be a distraction.

“This highlights the need for education about the risks of focusing on their children rather than the road.”

Leon Poultney


November 5, 2013

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