One of the greatest joys of grandparenting is taking the grandkids for an outing, yes?

And of course you buckle them into their car seats. But even the best car seat on the market can’t protect the grandkids in case of an accident, so there’s one other thing you need to be doing.

Driver error has been documented to contribute to over 90% of collisions. Your distractibility is crucial, and once again one of our best technological advances has proven to be a very mixed blessing. You might even say a very mixed curse.

And what is that?

It’s the conversation you’re having with your friend about the party next week. Or the quick call to verify directions or to say you’re running late. Or worst yet, an intense argument with your spouse. ON THE CELL PHONE WHILE DRIVING.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s hand-held or mounted, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re dialing, chatting, intensely relating, or hanging up. It’s dangerous.

And before you read these statistics, you need to know that according to the National Public Services Research Institute for AAA, the distraction effect is 2-3 times greater for drivers over the age of 50 using their cell phones. And this refers to all tasks – placing calls, simple conversations, and complex conversations. They increase response time by 33-38%, and aging affects response time to begin with.

According to the Fatal Analysis Reporting System, in one analysis of fatal accidents involving cell phone use, the cell phone-using drivers were all in what’s called “the striking vehicle.” This means they either hit a stationary object, or left their lane of traffic and struck a vehicle or obstacle. In these crashes, 75% of the drivers were engaged in conversation, 13% were dialing, and 13% were hanging up.

And worse yet – of those engaged in conversation, 1/3 were using mounted phones in the hands-free mode.

Risk of collision when using a cell is 4 times higher regardless of your age, driving experience, of experience with a cell phone, and – get this: the hands-free units offer no safety advantage.

People using cell phones simply take longer to react, and miss things that would allow them to avoid collisions. Even when not at-fault, cell users were unable to avoid collisions with others because they were distracted.

Your cell phone records can and will be subpoened in case of a lawsuit involving an accident, by the way.

So why not, when you strap the grandkids into their car seats, lay the cell phone down on the floor beside them and turn off the ringer?

Cell phones are great for productivity and personal safety. Just make sure you aren’t using yours to call the EMS after a car accident caused by the fact you were using yours while driving.

Go here http://www.nysgtsc.state.ny.us/phon-ndx.htm for tips for safe cell phone use in the car (if there is such a thing).

With statistics like this, can legislation be far behind? But do you need legislation to do what’s right?

Author's Bio: 

©Susan Dunn, MA, Emotional Intelligence Coach, http://www.susandunn.cc . Coaching, Internet courses, and ebooks around emotional intelligence for your personal and professional development. Susan is the author of “How to Develop Your Child’s EQ.” For free ezine, mailto:sdunn@susandunn.cc with “ezine” for SL.