Distracted Drivers Fault Family Members More Than Work, Friends

  • `Sad irony' is that loved ones spread risk, safety group says
  • Teens more likely to be distracted by friends than family

People’s commitment to their loved ones could prove dangerous on the road, as drivers are more likely to be distracted by family members than their job or friends, according to a safety group.

“It is a sad irony that the people we love are actually jeopardizing our safety,” Deborah A.P. Hersman, president of the National Safety Council, said in the statement Thursday. “If you really care, don’t call to say, ‘I love you.’ Instead encourage your family to set everything else aside, disconnect and focus only on the road.”

A council survey found that 82 percent of Americans feel pressured to deal with family distractions, such as phone calls and text messages, while behind the wheel. That compares with 54 percent for work-related intrusions and 50 percent for friends. Teen drivers, however, are more likely to be distracted by friends than family.

Insurers, safety groups and police are increasingly highlighting the risks associated with the growing use of electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets and even watches. The council released the report ahead of Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April.

The council surveyed 2,409 licensed drivers between March 2 and March 10. The National Safety Council is a non-profit organization focused on reducing risks in the workplace, on the roads and in homes. Hersman is former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.

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