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Prevalence of mobile phone vs. child-related driver distraction in a sample of families with young children.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of accidental death in Australia, with substantial societal costs. Unlike crash test dummies, child vehicle passengers rarely sit still and their behaviour can often be unpredictable. Analysis of naturalistic driving video data from journeys undertaken by 12 families with young children revealed that children accounted for 12% of all potentially distracting activities, with drivers in this study interacting with rear seat child occupants 12 times as often as they did with mobile phones. Educational interventions to reduce driver distraction are discussed and the use of the naturalistic driving methodology is proposed to investigate the potential benefits of a novel, best practices-based road safety education program targeting child-related driver distraction. Outcomes of such an evaluation could be used to inform and refine future education strategies designed to minimise child related driver distraction and crash risk, and to improve overall road safety in Australasia.