Loving parents and family members surrounding children put childproof locks on cabinets, buy car seats that meet or exceed all the guidelines for keeping children safe, would never think of leaving their children unattended or even worse, would CERTAINLY NEVER consider driving while intoxicated; especially with their child in the car.
However, studies have shown that texting while driving is about 6 times more likely to result in an accident than driving while intoxicated! A study by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute revealed that those who resorted to texting while driving are 23 times more likely to have an accident than those who do not text while driving.
This same study shows that texting while driving causes a 400% increase in time spent with eyes off the road. If you combine this with the time you might need to take your eyes off of the road to check on a child passenger; there is a tremendous increase in the risk to all.
As guardians, our first role is to keep children safe. If we do not keep children safe, nothing else we do matters. We can love on them, give them every tool to succeed academically, and provide for their need and/or desire. However, it is our job to be informed and to do everything that we can to provide a safe environment. Safety first, always.
I realize that sometimes the thought process seems innocent enough. There is justification for returning that one call on the way home. That one text message or email while driving is critical so that upon arrival home, the matter is handled and then there is freedom to be “fully present” with the child. However, being fully informed of how much that one act raises the risk of an accident should be enough to deter you from picking up that phone. The regret of injuring, traumatizing, or losing your child or anyone else on the road is ONE REGRET that you NEVER want to experience.
The problem on the road will increase and while legislation will probably eventually regulate some of our actions, it is our responsibility to be informed and keep our children safe NOW. The average monthly volume of text messages was 1 million in 2002. By 2008, it was 110 million. In 1999, only 1/3 of Americans had cell phones, now 91% of Americans have cell phones. * This means that not only do we have to be informed and responsible regarding our own actions, but we must realize that there are many other drivers on the road that are probably NOT informed and we must drive defensively. We must work together to keep our world a safe place for our children.
For more information on the study by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, visit Virginia Tech Transportation Institute News
*Study by University of North Texas Health Science Center
written by Donna McClintock @ Children’s Choice Learning Centers