Resource for media coverage on distracted driving behaviors of parents and grandparents


September is Child Passenger Safety Month - Cell phones are just part of problem

Image: SON exteriorThe pressure for people to multitask and stay connected to a busy world 24/7 is fueling distracted driving behaviors, and it's not just cell phones that are to blame, said Linda Roney, MSN, RN-BC, CPEN, a visiting instructor at Fairfield University's School of Nursing who studied this issue. She found that many parents and grandparents who use their cell phone in an illegal way while driving are trying to stay in touch and multitask. Roney said that drivers need to be aware of anything that might be a potential distraction any time they are driving and most importantly, when they are driving children. "There are three main types of distraction: visual (taking your eyes off the road), manual (taking your hands off the wheel), and cognitive (taking your mind off what you are doing). Any task that competes with driving puts the driver, passengers and others on the road at risk," said Roney who received a small research grant from the Yale School of Nursing's Delta Mu Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society to help defray some of the costs related to the study. "Many people believe that living in today's fast paced environment requires multitasking behaviors to get it all done yet research has shown that your brain can not efficiently perform more than one task at a time."

In the study, Roney found that despite being illegal in Connecticut, 80 percent of adults in the state reported using their cell phone in some way while driving children. Although this represents a significant decrease in the frequency of distracted driving behaviors relative to driving alone or driving with an adult passenger in the vehicle, these behaviors are concerning, said Roney.

For perspectives on this troubling problem, please consider as a resource Linda Roney who is a certified Pediatric and Pediatric Emergency Nurse with over seventeen years of experience caring for ill and injured children at Level I Pediatric Trauma Centers. Her clinical and research interests are in trauma, injury prevention and technology. She earned her bachelor of science in nursing at Villanova University, and a master of science in nursing education from Southern Connecticut State University where she is a doctoral candidate.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on September 2, 2014

Vol. 47, No. 111

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