Changing tactics to reduce driver distraction from children
Parents have switched from ‘I-spy’ to ‘iPads’ as in-car entertainment for their children, reveals the AA as research shows children are 12 times more distracting to drivers than mobile phones.
AA-Populus research* shows that nearly a third (30%) of drivers said their parents played games like I-spy to keep them entertained on long car trips.
But this halved to 14% when asked what they did as parents to keep their own children entertained on car journeys.
Modern parents turn to technology to keep their children or young relatives entertained in the car with six per cent saying they use hand held electronic games or watch DVDs, three per cent let the children play on smart phones and two per cent rely on watching television through a tablet or PC.
Drivers in London and Northern Ireland were the least likely to say they entertain child passengers with games like I-spy (12%).
And giving children a DVD to watch was most popular among drivers from Scotland, the North East and North West (all 7%).
Keeping children entertained and happy on car journeys can help reduce the level of distraction they pose to a driver.
The importance of this is highlighted by the fact that in-car driver distractions were a contributory factor in three per cent of all accidents on UK roads in 2012.
These statistics also show that the driver or rider ‘failing to look properly’ was the most commonly cited contributory factor in UK road accidents (42%). Sudden braking (7%), swerving (4%) and loss of control (14%) were also all common contributory factors in road accidents, which can easily arise if a driver has become distracted from the task in hand.
Momentary distraction behind the wheel can be the difference between life and death
Edmund King, AA president
The findings come as Edmund King, AA president and visiting professor of transport at Newcastle University addresses a seminar on driver distraction at the university at the launch of national Road Safety Week.
Edmund King, AA president, said: “Momentary distraction behind the wheel can be the difference between life and death.
“Many drivers do not consider children in the car as a potential distraction but taking your eyes off the road for just a few seconds to deal with what’s happening on the back seat can have dramatic consequences.
“Keeping children entertained in the car is one of the best ways to reduce the risk as they are less likely to be a distraction if they are occupied with a game.
“Traditional in-car entertainment has changed over the generations. ‘I-spy with my little eye’ is being replaced by the iPad and electronic eyes as a tactic to keep modern children quiet on a long trip.”
(18 November 2013)
*Populus interviewed 23,450 adults aged 18+ on The AA-Populus online panel between 11-17 June, 2013. Populus www.populus.co.uk is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.