Austin, TX (PRWEB) January 08, 2014
When asked for his reaction to a recent study conducted by the Monash University Accident Research Center in Australia showing that driving with children in the backseat is twelve times more dangerous than using a hands-free cell phone, Austin distracted driving accident attorney Tony R. Bertolino said that he was not at all surprised to read the findings and often sees cases involving distracted parents in his office.
Corroborating many of the details of the study, which was summarized in an article for Medical Daily on November 29, 2013 (“Kids In Cars 12 Times More Distracting For Drivers Than Talking On Cell Phones”), Bertolino explains why distracted driving due to young ones is so prevalent and why we should be concerned.
“Obviously, unlike the wise decision not to text while driving or making sure you get enough sleep before beginning a long road trip, a parent cannot just decide he or she is no longer going to travel with children. So instead the focus has to be on becoming more conscious of how you are choosing to communicate and interact with the kids while also being a responsible driver, especially because you are carrying such precious cargo.”
Bertolino points to the specific numbers found as a result of the research—ninety of the ninety-two trips recorded during the study showed distractions from kids, and these incidences accounted for twelve percent of all driving distractions.
“Whether you are turning around to ask your child about his day at school or to hand her that dinner that is being eaten on the go as you rush off to practice or you are on vacation and need to address that ‘Are we there yet?’ question yet one more time, every time your eyes are focused on the back seat, they aren’t on the road. Think about the last time you turned around to break up fighting siblings or maybe just hand someone a tissue? When you allow yourself, it can be scary to admit that your focus can be away from the road for several seconds at a time.”
Citing a story published by ABC News earlier this year (“One of the Worst Driving Distractions on the Road; Your Kids,” March 19, 2013) detailing one correspondent’s realization that she was guilty of being distracted by her children, Bertolino reminds us that there are steps that can be taken to minimize the danger that kids can place on the driver of any vehicle.
“First, kids need to understand that driving a car is something serious. It is an activity that requires the driver’s full attention. Sharing this idea with kids and making them respect the power of the vehicle offers two benefits. Your kids may refrain from asking too many things of you that would require you to turn around. Then, when these children get their own cars, they already will have the importance of driver safety engrained in them,” Bertolino said. “Second, you need to realize that by making your driving a top priority, you are showing how much you prioritize your kids as well. You need to know that telling your child, ‘No, I can’t hand you a water bottle right now’ while driving down a highway is OK. You are keeping them safe, and that is what matters most in that moment.”
Bertolino ended his analysis of the study by admitting that while educating parents about kid distractions and setting some ground rules for the kids while they patiently travel in the back seat are important tools in increasing road safety, accidents are still going to happen.
“If you have been injured by a distracted driver, be it someone who was texting a buddy or a mom who turned around to provide juice boxes, you should seek the advice of legal counsel and do not suffer without compensation. While the other driver might have meant no harm, the unfortunate effects are often the same,” Bertolino said.
About Bertolino LLP
Bertolino LLP is a Texas law firm with a reputation for providing quality legal services in Austin, TX, Houston, TX and San Antonio, TX. The versatile attorneys handle a wide range of legal issues, including automobile accidents, personal injury, estates and wills, professional licensure and workplace discrimination. Contact Bertolino LLP today to discuss your situation, or visit http://www.belolaw.com.
For more information about what to do if you have faced injury or property damage as a result of another person’s distracted driving, call (800) 210-0126 or complete the online contact form.
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