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New moms not as safe at driving as they often think

Posted On Tue, January 29, 2013

A new study that examines new moms' perceptions of their own driving skills compared to their actual behaviors reveals stark disparities.

The poll, which was conducted jointly by American Baby and Safe Kids Worldwide, first asked respondents what they thought of their overall driving performance. Among the nearly 2,400 new moms surveyed, close to 65 percent said they thought they had become a more careful, attentive driver since giving birth.

However, when respondents were asked to detail some of their driving habits, their activities often ran counter to what traffic officials consider safe. For example, nearly 80 percent of mothers said that they talk on the phone regularly when their kids are in the car, one in every four said they check or send text messages while behind the wheel and more than half said that they drive above the speed limit when they're running late for an appointment or work.

Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide, indicated that multitasking and driving are increasingly becoming one in the same.

"It's become part of our culture to not just drive, but to drive and do 20 other things," said Carr. "The problem is multi-tasking in the car can lead to tragedies."

Hand-held devices are strongly linked to automotive accidents. According to researchers from Monash University, motorists who use cellphones and other mobile devices at the wheel are four times more likely to encounter a crash, which could result in increasing auto insurance rates if motorists don't have accident forgiveness.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety notes that 10 states have outright bans on any and all handheld cellphone usage among motorists.

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