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What is the most distracting thing a lorry driver can do behind the wheel? Some would say talking on a mobile phone. Others might say sending a text message, eating, operating a sat nav, or even looking over paperwork. However, it turns out there’s one form of distraction that might be more serious than all of these: children.

Lorry drivers do not typically have children in their cabs with them. However, parents transport children in their cars all the time. A recent study from Australia shows that the distraction of children is up to 12 times greater than that of driving while operating a mobile phone.

Researchers at the Monash University Accident Research Centre in Victoria investigated driving distractions by placing discrete monitoring devices in a number of cars, then monitoring the driving habits of 12 different families over the course of three weeks. Each of the families had an average of two children between the ages of one and eight.

The monitoring devices kept track of any distractions drivers faced during the trial period. They discovered the average adult driver with young children takes his or her eyes off the road for 3 minutes and 22 seconds during a 16-minute trip. As previously stated, that is 12 times greater than the distraction of dialling or listening to a mobile phone.

Researchers observed several distracting behaviours among parents, including:

The point of bringing this up is not to say that parents are bad drivers. Nor is it to attempt to justify other forms of distracted driving. It is simply to say that there are plenty of things that can distract any driver behind the wheel. It’s not wise to be so close-minded as to only focus safe driving efforts on mobile phones and sat nav devices.

Safety Is Everyone’s Responsibility

The other thing the research clearly shows us is that road safety is everyone’s responsibility. Yes, the lorry driver owes it to the driving public to watch his or her speed, make sure they are not distracted, and be extra careful when driving in a congested urban environment. However, those same responsibilities are required of car drivers, motorbike operators, and cyclists as well.

Any number of things can distract any driver, leading to accidents resulting in serious injuries or deaths. Every driver should do what he or she can to make sure distractions are kept to a minimum. That’s the best way to ensure road safety for everyone.

If you are a lorry driver in need of CPC certification or remedial training, the HGV Training Centre is here to help. We offer high-quality training for HGVs, PCVs, coaches and buses, heavy construction equipment, forklifts, and more. All you need to do is contact us to get started. With more than 45 facilities around the country, there are always new classes forming near you.

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