Study: Most Parents Text and Drive, But Millennial Parents Have Riskier Habits
A new study finds that despite widespread public health warnings about distracted driving, the majority of parents are still using their phones on the road, with one group in particular facing the most risk: millennial's.
Researchers from Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital crunched the numbers and found that even though 52% of millennial parents -- ages 22 to 37 years in 2018 -- and 57% of parents over 37 years old said it was "never" safe to text and drive, nearly two-thirds of all parents admitted to reading text messages while driving and over half said they sent text messages, too.
This compulsion to use our cellphones while driving comes from the modern-day need to "always be reachable," the study’s lead author Dr. Regan Bergmark, of the Center for Surgery and Public Health at Brigham and Women's Hospital, told ABC News.
Although the majority of adults involved in the study indicated that they drove distractedly, millennial parents were most likely to be distracted by risky activities beyond texting, such as responding to emails and using maps.
About 16% of millennial parents had been in at least one crash in the year prior to taking the survey compared to 10% of older parents, but this difference was not significant, the study said.
Bergmark said that doctors could put more effort into reminding parents not to text and drive, but she also pointed out that many phones, for example, come with "Do Not Disturb" functions. There are also apps -- some of which integrate with GPS systems -- that reward drivers for safer driving habits.