Distracted driving claims the lives of thousands of people each year. Eating food while driving, putting on make-up when behind the wheel, and fiddling with console buttons can all be distractions. Yet the biggest distraction of them all is texting. And it is especially prevalent among younger moms and dads.
A study of more than 400 parents recently published in a pediatrics medicine journal sheds light not just on the dangers of texting and driving, but on who is most likely to send messages while trying to operate a motor vehicle. Not surprisingly, almost all age groups admitted to distracted driving behaviors. However, the study authors have concluded that Millennial parents tend to be more apt to reach for their cell phones and become distracted when driving than parents representing other generational groups.
Millennials and Technology
The link between Millennials and texting while driving is not entirely surprisingly. Millennials, born anywhere from about the mid-1980s to the late 1990s, are the first generation to consider cell phones a part of everyday life. Not only is technology native to Millennials, but they tend to prefer texting to other forms of communication. Therefore, when they get into the driver’s seat, they see the phone as an extension of themselves rather than a potential distraction.
Because Millennials are beginning to raise families, many safety organizations have raised concerns about parents who text with their kids in the backseat. With so many distracted driving accidents and fatalities yearly, advocates against texting are reminding Millennials that safety must always come first.
Cell Phone Best Practices When Driving
While no one is likely to leave a cell phone at home, all drivers can follow some safety guidelines to help prevent car accidents, injuries, and deaths on America’s roadways. The first is to turn off all notifications on the cell phone before starting the car. That way, the cell phone will not alert the driver to new texts, phone calls, incoming emails, or other messages.
Secondly, drivers should consider storing their devices in a bag, the car console, the glove compartment, or a similar location. Having the phone out of view and reach makes it less attractive to pick up at stop signs or traffic lights.
Finally, drivers who use their cell phones for GPS should invest in a dashboard mount. This keeps the device at eye level. While not the best option, it can be less distracting. It should also make following directions a bit easier.