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Friday 19 September 2014

Parents' phone calls drive teenagers to distraction

Brian McDonald

Published 20/08/2014 | 02:30

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Teenage drivers said most calls on their mobiles came from parents.
Teenage drivers said most calls on their mobiles came from parents.

Parents are driving their children to distraction - literally.

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Research has found that 53pc of teenagers who talked on the phone while driving were talking to a parent. Less than half - 46pc - were talking to a friend.

Talking on a phone or texting is regarded as distracted driving, but up to now it was not known that the main cause of distraction for young drivers was the call from home.

Using a mobile phone while driving makes you four times more likely to crash and driver distraction is reckoned to play a part in up to 30pc of road collisions.

More than half of the 408 teenage drivers who took part in a clinical study reported being on the phone with their parents.

The findings were presented to the American Psychological Association's annual convention in Washington. Irish Road Safety Officer Noel Gibbons urged parents to try to ensure that they only called their children when they were not behind the wheel.

"The findings from this study are US figures, but we have no reason to believe that they would be any different here. It's human nature for a 
parent to want to keep in touch with their children, but they should be careful not to do so while they are driving," he said.

From 2008 to 2009, the number of penalty points issued in Ireland for driving while using a mobile phone increased by 70pc.

Irish Independent

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