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How Kids Make Driving More Dangerous

By Michelle Roberts, WBZ-TV
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BOSTON (CBS) – We all know cell phones and driving don’t mix, but there could be something in the car that one recent study suggests is twelve times more distracting. It’s your kids.

The ride can become dangerous if a parent takes their focus off the road longer than they realize.

Four parents agreed to have cameras mounted in their cars to see just how much of their driving time is distracted by their kids.

Three safety experts then analyzed the video. Charlie Klauer, a transportation researcher from Virginia Tech, monitored how long the driver’s eyes were off the road.

Suzanne Fallon, a mother of three, was the most distracted driver. Klauer said, “Her ‘eyes off road’ time was at least 50% there for at least a good minute to two minutes, and that’s really dangerous.”

Fallon pointed at her children and admitted, “I actually rear ended someone when these two were younger because they were causing a fuss.”

National Safety Council expert John Ulczycki noticed a potentially dangerous situation as he observed video of father David Benjamin reaching into the backseat to help one of his kids while the car was moving.

To his defense, Benjamin said his young son was chewing on his shoe. “I wanted to make sure nothing was coming off the shoe which he could swallow.”

Ulczycki said pulling over would have been a much better option. “I wouldn’t have done that until the car is totally stopped.”

Parents are rightfully concerned about their children, but police say they lose track of just how quickly a bad situation can develop.

Police officer Mark Wadka added, “In just a second a child can run in the roadway, or somebody else who is distracted can come into your lane.”

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