What is multitasking really when it comes to driving a car? Simply thinking about something other than the road in front of you must qualify, wondering if that second glass of wine was a good idea as well. Thoughts of work, dinner, relationships have to qualify surely. I can’t help but think because of a few deaths because of people texting while driving we’ve taken the idea of “multitasking” too far.
Apparently, just changing radio stations is enough to get you labeled a bad parent, never mind listening to Terri Gross on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and actually listening to thought provoking radio. To this day, I’ve never been in an accident behind the wheel of a car, but could multitask with the best of them. That is, I could roll a joint while balancing an extra hot latte and parallel park to the left up a San Francisco hill with a manual transmission. But I wasn’t driving my kids, I was one.
In a recent study by the University of Michigan, Dr. Michelle Macy, lead author of the report, said children of “distracted driving parents” are more likely to find themselves in an accident. 90 percent of parents surveyed said that they had least one technology-related distraction the past month while driving their kids.
“Using a handheld cell phone was one of the most common things that parents reported they were doing,” Macy told WWJ Newsradio 950.
Other distractions parents admitted to were eating, feeding a child, fixing their hair or makeup and picking up dropped toys or other items from the car floor. Those of course, were simply distractions that parents admitted to, one can only assume they run the gamut from not worth mentioning to considerably worse.
“My research is resonating with me as a parent, and it’s definitely making me think about what I’m doing when I’m driving as well,” Macy said.
The researchers surveyed more than 600 parents whose children were treated at two emergency departments in Michigan for any reason. The children were ages 1 to 12. Given that one of those emergency rooms was in Detroit, and that a number of the distractions that parents admitted to was fiddling with the GPS, I can’t help but think that using a GPS is a hell of a lot safer than getting lost in Detroit.
Not surprisingly, only 10 percent of parents admitted to texting when driving at least once a month.