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Are Arguing Kids in the Car More Dangerous Than Drunk Drivers?


Drunk driver plows into the wrong house [via CNN]

Drunk driver plows into the wrong house [via CNN]

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Could fights between your brood be causing you to be more likely to have an accident?

An article on British car Web site Whatcar is citing a report by the Transport Research Laboratory for insurance company Direct Line that suggests arguing children can be such a distraction for drivers, that it's almost as bad as driving while drunk.

The study found that reaction times of drivers fell by 13 percent when fighting children were in the car. That's the same number as that of drivers who are the British legal limit for alcohol consumption (1ooml). That could add four meters--about 12 feet--to a highway stop.

Other findings? Instances of hard braking increased by around 40 percent when kids were going at it with each other. Stress levels also increased by a third, and previous research showed that increasing stress levels could lead to more accidents.

Distracted driving is a real concern, but most of the focus has been on cell-phone use while driving and other distractions. Not much attention has been given to the problems caused by other distractions, such as little Johnny placing his hand on little Suzie's side of the back seat, thus initiating World War III in an SUV.

The best thing for parents to do is keep the little ones entertained. Whether it's the license plate game, "I spy", or a sing-a-long, it's better the kids be distracted than you.

No wonder the market for rear-seat entertainment centers is so strong.

[Source: Whatcar]

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Comments (4)
  1. it would be very difficult for me to overstate just how utterly and completely i agree with the conclusions reported in this post!!! great stuff.
     
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  2. Uh oh! Next on the list of things to ban while driving: kids! I could strap them to the top of the car, or purchase one of those cute little side cars like motorcycles sport.
    Interesting food for thought, though!
     
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  3. "Worse than drunk drivers" does sound a little extreme, but arguing can certainly be a problem.
    I'm a fan of the old cliche, "I'm going to pull over if you kids don't behave"......so go ahead and pull over until everybody calms down.
     
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  4. This is a great article. When my kids were younger, I did not allow fighting or any kind of acting up in the car. All you have to do is turn around one time and go home and the distracting behavior will stop.
    I wonder, though, how many moms and dads are talking or texting while driving their children.
     
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