Survey Shows Majority of Parents Engage in Distracting Behaviors Behind the Wheel
TAMPA, Fla. (September 18, 2017 ) — From making sure a car seat is installed correctly to deciding how much to interact with their children while driving, parents make critical decisions every day when it comes to the safety of kids in the car.
Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of death of children under 14. With this in mind, AAA and the Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation are highlighting Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 17-23, by encouraging parents and caregivers to review best practices for child safety, minimize distractions and check their child’s car seat for proper installation and fit.
“We urge parents to make sure they’re not doing things that take their attention off the road,” said Amy Stracke, managing director of traffic safety advocacy for AAA – The Auto Club Group and executive director of the Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation. “It’s especially important to remain focused on driving when children are in the car.”
A recent AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey found that more than half of drivers with children 12 or younger admit to regularly doing things behind the wheel that can cause distraction, including interacting with their children, eating and drinking, and talking/texting on the phone.
Along with minimizing distractions, AAA and the Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation encourage parents to be sure car seats are installed correctly and their children are riding in the right seat for their height and weight.
“Car seats, booster seats and seat belts save lives when used correctly,” said Michele Harris, traffic safety consultant for the AAA – The Auto Club Group. “We’ve seen great improvement in recent years with car seat usage, but there are still too many children who are at risk because their seat is either installed incorrectly or they are moved out of their safety seat too soon.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), most parents are confident they have correctly installed their child’s car seat. However, in most cases, the seat was installed incorrectly 59 percent of the time. Additionally, about 26 percent of children 4 to 7 were moved to seat belts too soon, when they should have been riding in booster seats.
The following safety tips are recommended when driving with children:
- Focus on the road. While it’s tempting to glance in the back seat to tend to children, doing so increases the chance of a crash. Taking your eyes of the road for as few as five seconds is like driving the length of a football field, including the end zones, blindly.
- Keep both hands on the wheel. If you need to help your child pick up something, such as a toy or cup, find a safe place to pull over. Wait until the vehicle is stopped before looking or reaching in the back seat.
- Discuss passenger safety with kids. Let them know they can help create a safe riding environment by not distracting the driver.
- Model safe driving behaviors for your children. Avoid eating and drinking, talking/texting on the phone and other distractions when driving.
- Check your child’s seat regularly. Whether it’s a car seat or a booster, make sure the seat is the right size for your child, that it’s installed correctly and the straps are tightened properly every time.
About Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation
Established by AAA – The Auto Club Group in 2010, Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation, Inc. (ACGTSF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and public charity dedicated to producing a significant and continuous reduction in traffic crashes, injuries and deaths in the communities targeted by its efforts. ACGTSF provides programs, education and outreach to increase public awareness about the importance of traffic safety and improve driving behavior. ACGTSF is funded by voluntary, tax-deductible contributions from organizations and individuals who support ACGTSF’s purpose. Visit http://www.AAA.com/foundation for more information.
About The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, insurance, financial services and travel offerings to over 9.4 million members across eleven states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 57.7 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.
About the AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey
The AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey was conducted among parents with children 12 years old or younger living in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Dakota, and Tennessee from April 11, 2017 – April 30, 2017. A total of 1,020 residents completed the survey. Survey results have a margin of error of ± 3.1 percentage points.