Missourians are fully aware of the dangers out on the road. One of the biggest issues is distracted driving. The scope of the problem has led to law enforcement and legislators trying to make the roads safer through enforcement and laws against the practice. Researchers are also trying to discern how and why drivers – who are undoubtedly knowledgeable as to the dangers of distracted driving – continue to do it.

One study shows that an unexpected demographic is engaging in distracting activities when behind the wheel: parents with children in the vehicle. Understanding this issue is important when there is a crash as it can yield valuable information when considering a lawsuit.

The study was conducted by the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. It found that around half of parents who have children between the age of 4 and 10 are using their cellphones while driving. An estimated one-third read text messages, one-quarter sent text messages and one in seven were taking part in social media activities.

The criterion of when this occurred was within the previous three months, prior to taking part in the survey. There were 760 parents in the study and all were caring for children in the above age range. The survey was taken in 2017. The number of people who have a smartphone has been gradually creeping upward, and now, 77 percent of adults have one. Taking attention away from the road to do anything other than driving is dangerous. The cognitive effects of using a phone are even more risky than simply talking to someone or changing the radio station.

Since people are more available with the improved technology, there tends to be a belief that multitasking is safe and necessary. Although laws are being put in place to punish drivers who are using handheld devices behind the wheel, it is believed to have little effect on the practice.

With so many parents admitting to texting and driving and other distracted driver behaviors, others on the road should be extra vigilant to remain safe. When there is an auto accident, the problem has become so common that there is an automatic belief that it might have been because of a distracted driver.

Given the medical expenses, lost time on the job, problems returning to normal and even death, it is imperative to have legal help to investigate the accident and determine the cause. A law firm experienced in car accidents can help with the investigation and in pursuing a lawsuit. A personal injury action could help assign liability and help with the recovery of compensation.