Distracted Driving – Distracting Passengers

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 18,829
    Justin McNaull, AAA Public Affairs, discusses how passengers can both cause and prevent distracted driving.

    How to Avoid Distracted DrivingDistracting PassengersJustin McNaull: Hi! I'm Justin McNaull of AAA Public Affairs here to talk about distracted driving. Now I'm going to talk about distractions caused by passengers such as our children and our friends. Passengers are different from some other distractions that we deal with. The passengers can actually have a protective benefit. We find that adult passengers can assist you in the driving process, tell you what's going on, and they can adjust their behavior to what's happening on the roadway around you. That being said, you still need to be sure to avoid the heated discussions with the passengers that could lead to distraction like an argument, or another emotional conversation.

    If you do find yourself unable to concentrate on your driving due to your passengers, pull over to the side of the road and finish the conversation, or attend your children, or do those things will safely stopped.

    Instead of attempting to juggle one or more distracting activities with that deceptively complex task of driving, and lets the passenger do those other things to help you out.

    Designate your passenger to be your navigator, someone there to read and interpret maps and directions; your co-pilot, to manage climate control, music, other instruments and things going on in the car. You can have the person to be your DT, your Designated Texter, who can answer your phone, who can handle text messages and other distractions from the outside world. If you are a passenger, volunteer to help out the driver with these activities that might be distracting, and endanger the driver, and everybody else in the car.

    Children and teens are kinds of passengers that really can be problematic. As parents, we know we can't keep the kids out of our cars, so we really need to cognizant into the distracting power that these youngsters have in the car, whether it's because they're misbehaving, or even just because of the simple needs of a toddler.

    So it's difficult as it maybe, not to attend to our kids while driving. You need to focus on the driving. It really is the most important thing to do when you're on the roadway.

    If you're neglecting the driving task, you might end up in a crash that endangers both you and your little passengers. Be sure to pull safely off the roadway and out of traffic, before you do with your children.

    We know the teen drivers can have an extraordinarily challenging time managing distractions, whether it's loud music, raucous behavior from their friends or just the pure pressure that comes from them. Teen passengers aren't a good thing to have in the car with a new teen driver.

    In fact, crash risk for teen drivers and passengers has been shown to statistically increase dramatically, simply by adding passengers to the car. The crash risk basically doubles with one teen passenger added in with a teen driver. It triples with two passengers. With three or more passengers, it increases six-fold.

    A nationwide evaluation of Teen Driver Laws has shown that restricting the number of passengers the teen driver can have in the car with them, reduces fatality significantly. So keep teen passengers out of the car when you are new driver. We know that these stronger laws play a part in keeping the road safe for everyone and parents play an especially critical role in enforcing these laws.

    Sometimes laws fall short of best practices for safety. So if you're the parent of a teen driver, make sure that you set ground rules, prohibiting your teen from riding with other teen drivers, or from transporting other teens for at least the first year of driving. AAA is working today across the country to advocate for critical improvements to existing laws, governing teen drivers.

    In the next video, Dr. Bill will address two topics; distracting activities that people do in their vehicles in order to save time, and the distractions from outside the vehicle.