A new study conducted by American Baby and Safe Kids Worldwide, and reported by the Car Connection, indicates that new mothers are among the most distracted drivers on the road. According to the study nearly 10% of new mothers had a motor vehicle accident while driving with a new baby. This is three times the rate of accidents for the general population. This not only affects drivers, but also pedestrians and it can greatly impact bicycle safety as well. Two out of three of the mothers claim to be more cautious when driving with a new baby. But the statistics dispute that.
The Car Connection attributes the results to several factors: 1) Mothers driving while fatigued – new mothers only get an average of 5 hours and 20 minutes per night. 2) Turning around to tend to the baby. 3) Using phones to text or call or read messages or emails while driving. 4) Other kinds of distracted driving; navigation devices, messing with music, etc. Thank God they aren’t breast feeding while driving!
Of course, this is a bogus study. To really be meaningful it would have to compare non new mothers from the same age group to new mothers. By comparing young mothers to the general population, the researchers ignore the possibility that all young women are more accident prone than the general populations.
With the exception of getting less sleep with a new baby and turning around to check on that baby, new mothers sound depressingly like everyone else. Doing a dozen things other than paying attention to driving.
I recently saw at Amazon, a car desk that slips over the steering wheel, so you can work on your laptop while your vehicle is parked. If you don’t believe me go to Amazon and enter auto laptop tray table. Isn’t that cool! Of course, if you decide to type an important memo while driving to work on the interstate at 75 mph, nobody is going to stop you and remind you to only use the tray table while parked.
What’s the point of all this? Well, if you are a cyclist keep a sharp eye out for new mothers, and every other driver. Any of them can cripple or kill you. Regardless of whatever they’re distracted by, as a cyclist you should always use every element possible to ensure bicycle safety.
Please, please use mirrors and wear the brightest clothing you can find, preferably a fluorescent cycling jersey. If you see a car in the mirror that is too close to you simply ride off the road. Nothing is worse then being hit by a motor vehicle.