Bad behavior: What parents are doing behind the wheel that they shouldn’t

HOUSTON – Texting while driving is a serious problem.

Now, more than ever, drivers need to be safe behind the wheel. AAA Texas says a lot of the messaging about safety behind the wheel is aimed towards teens and young adults, but that should change.

Educating families on the difference a passenger can make, even a child, when speaking up against distracted driving can be life or death. AAA Texas demonstrates in a public service announcement how a family of four heading home from a school sporting event gets caught in the moment of responding to a text message. They show a mom who is texting behind the wheel, but a child in the car is brave enough to speak up to discourage the mom from using the phone and subsequently avoids a crash.

This message is intended to remind everyone about how the simple act of calling out a dangerous driving activity, such as using a smartphone behind the wheel, could save lives.

All of this information is extremely important because in a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, researchers found drivers can experience a “hangover effect” where the mind stays distracted for up to 27 seconds after using smartphones or voice-to-text vehicle infotainment systems to send text messages, make phone calls or update social media.

“Even if drivers perform some of these tasks while parked, or stopped at a red light, once you start moving, and even after you stop using the technology, your mind is still not fully focused on the task of driving for up to 27 seconds,” said AAA Texas spokesperson Daniel Armbruster. “This is a dangerous situation that could lead to inattention blindness, where you’re looking at the road but not seeing what’s in front of you, putting other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians at risk.”

About the Author:

Traffic expert and What’s Driving Houston reporter, proud Latina, lover of animals, food and our beautiful planet.