Middle-aged drivers risking kids' safety by using cell phones in droves

New research finds that most middle-aged drivers use cell phones regularly while on the road, even when kids are in the car.

New research finds that most middle-aged drivers use cell phones regularly while on the road, even when kids are in the car.

The study ("Distracted driving behaviors related to cell phone use among middle-aged adults"), published in the Journal of Transport & Health and conducted by researchers at the University of California at San Diego, found that the 715 middle-aged drivers surveyed online were especially tempted to take work calls while driving.

There was some indication that the older the driver the wiser, as those closer to the top of the 30-to-60-year-old range surveyed were less likely to succumb to distracted driving.

Among the scary stats from the study: 1 in 5 respondents acknowledge using cell phones during a quarter of the time they are driving on freeways. Some 65% said they text while stopped at red lights.

Overall, middle-aged drivers are overconfident in their ability to talk/text on cell phones while driving, the study found.

The National Safety Council says more than a quarter of car accidents can be attributed to cell phone use (talking or texting). And as this latest study shows, the dangers aren't entirely found among younger drivers, who have been the subjects of much such research.

One outcome of the study is that the researchers are working with employers to help them to get employees to stop practicing distracted driving. Drivers were shown to be accepting of methods such as new apps for auto-answering texts received while driving.

MORE: College students admit they'll text during anything (and I mean anything) |NTSB: Distracted driving among top 10 transportation safety challenges 

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