Kids Are Terrible Driving Distraction, Study Finds

Australian researchers say kids can be as disruptive as texting on a cell phone.
5:18 | 03/20/13

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Transcript for Kids Are Terrible Driving Distraction, Study Finds
We think of traffic accidents we think drunk drivers but surprisingly the vast majority of car crashes are caused not driving while intoxicated. But while driving while distracted. -- a nation that prides itself on multitasking. Even behind the wheel. But as ABC's -- Ferris discovers firsthand one of the biggest distractions is something you may be driving with every day. Seem to do all kinds of crazy and potentially dangerous stuff behind the wheel. Sometimes more focused on their -- And cones and keeping their eyes and minds on the road and biggest is what happens when they -- Terms of the crash risk when you're texting. -- talking on the phone. Or is it that crash risk is comparable to driving when you're drunk and when -- -- blood alcohol level. There are more than five million traffic accidents reported every year nearly ten every minute. And an estimated 80% of them are due to distracted driving. But it turns out something you might do every day driving with kids in the back seat. Is an even worse distraction. And one might not even realize. In a first of its kind study Australian researchers recently found that children accounted for 12% of all potentially distracting activities. More than talking to the front seat passenger more than -- Justine seat or seat belt. Drivers are breaking up fights. And call -- fussy babies. And Lauren Glickman spend there are taking me getting your -- -- As a mom of two active twin boys -- experience the added level of distraction they can often come with pint sized passengers. Think that my kids are more distracting than talking on the phone maybe just because I feel more obligated to -- have their needs. It's really challenging to just do -- the you know the task at hand and is dry. And I consider myself the safe drivers so I put myself to the test. I'm a mother of two will do driver distraction -- with the health of the few cameras in my car we Aston expert Charlie -- from Virginia Tech. Did judge how safe my driving really is she and her team analyzed those precious seconds they -- eyes off the road. And they agreed to -- my driving. You're traveling -- that he -- Sixty miles an hour united way he and look at that has nothing to everything that's a lot. Look again and I only took my eyes off the road for one seconds and in that time -- 75 feet. Want to say grab a snack wrappers. Point out sites. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- I didn't feel like I was doing anything wrong the only thing worse than driving -- distracting kids is using a cell phone at -- same time. Texting and driving is illegal in 39 states. Including New York where police Sargent -- poured down hunts drivers who may be violating the -- hand held cell phones and texting ban. -- everywhere he looks. He seems to find someone driving with a phone in their hand. Morning -- in court although Caesars police department's. -- -- -- on the phone today. I mean it's just yeah. All they -- -- he would I don't look at a white going don't look to improve the violators I think the violators trying to Austin Israel. Now if you think using -- hands free technology is -- -- twice. Researchers have proof that even hands free car calls are justice distracted is holding on to that -- found. Here's your brain with no distractions turning -- the orange area representing activity in the part of the brain that controls vision and alertness but -- -- against traffic requires substantially more concentration. And your brain nearly short circuits trying to talk drive and -- Smart decisions at the same time. The energy used to process vision is instead diverted to an area that's processing in the conversation. Preaching including -- like -- hand on a scooter is nearly paid by this woman talking on her cell phone while turning left and you -- our -- here it is again. You really looked at that stop sign -- really look at that pedestrian but you didn't semen didn't register. Because you were on the -- but there are ways to drive safer. First -- -- car rules are your kids know what to expect if they drop something make sure they know you can't pick it up until the car stops. If you're tempted to take a phone call considering -- -- -- savor it blocks incoming calls and text messages. By sending an automated response that your driving and will answer when you can we had to -- And if you can't feed the kids before you leave. Keep the snack bag close by one of the few things I did write how would you rate my safety skills make -- I was attacked. Fiber six the next a failing grade for real we're kind of add an interview year's tournament -- -- For Nightline I'm -- fearless in Blacksburg Virginia.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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