-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly two-thirds of adults
use a cell phone when they're driving with children in the car, and
about one-third text, according to a new California survey.
The dangers of such behavior are well-documented. In 2011, about
3,300 deaths and 400,000 injuries in the United States occurred
because of distracted driving, according to experts in the driving
safety program at the University of California, San Diego, School
Their online survey of 715 drivers, aged 30 to 64, in San Diego
County revealed that many people either are unaware of the dangers
of distracted driving or choose to ignore them.
"Studies have shown that phoning and driving increases the risk of crashes four-fold, with hands-free and handheld devices equally dangerous; this is the same as driving with a blood alcohol content at the legal limit of .08. Texting increases this risk eight to 16 times," Dr. Linda Hill, a clinical professor in the department of family and preventive medicine at UCSD School of Medicine, said in a university news release.
"[These findings] highlight the dangerous behavior of adults driving distracted, especially with children in the car, exposing both themselves and their children to increased risk for a crash," Hill said.
Of the more than 500 people in the survey who said they drive an
average of one to two hours a day, 30 percent said they use cell
phones for talking, texting and other applications sometimes or
often. Fifty-three percent said they rarely do so, and 17 percent
said they never do.
Fifty-six percent of respondents reported driving with a
handheld phone and 92 percent with a hands-free phone.
Among the respondents with children younger than age 11 in the
car, 65 percent drive with a cell phone and 36 percent text. Of
those with children aged 12 to 17 in the car, 63 percent drive with
a cell phone and 31 percent text. People with children younger than
age 11 in the car were significantly more likely to text and to
talk on a handheld phone, according to the survey.
The survey also found that 31 percent of respondents said they
feel obligated to take a work-related call while driving.
"Employers should be aware that encouraging workers to initiate and receive calls while driving on the job is putting their employees at risk and exposing their companies to potential liability," Hill said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
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