Multitasking Moms Get Wakeup Call Behind the Wheel

By Kristin Varela  on February 1, 2013

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As a busy mom who works with a whole team of busy mom reviewers, I can sympathize with a new mom's need to multitask. I'm not naming names but some of us have been known to dole out gummy bears one by one to fussy kids just to get through a team conference call. However, the multitasking has to stop in the car.

A recently released study conducted by Safe Kids Worldwide and American Baby magazine found that 78% of moms with children younger than age 2 talk on their cellphones while driving with their baby in the car.

Compare this to a 2011 Harris poll that found that, on average, 60% of drivers use their cellphones while driving, and all of the sudden moms — specifically new moms — appear to be as careless and dangerous as many teen drivers.

The new study also found that 26% of new moms admit to texting or emailing while driving with their baby in the car; in fact, 64% confessed to turning around while driving to tend to a baby in the backseat. You can drive the length of a football field in just five seconds at 55 mph. Turning around to tend to a child in the backseat is like driving blind. Pulling over is the smart — and safe — way to care for kids in a car.

For everyone's safety, it's also wise to keep your cellphone stashed out of easy reach — whether in a closed center console or inside your purse or your baby's diaper bag in the backseat. And since the federal government is looking to make cellphone use of any kind behind the wheel illegal, one day this bad behavior could impact your wallet as well as your family's safety.

To keep temptation further at bay, look into several emerging technologies that block incoming calls, texts and emails while you're driving and respond with a customizable "unavailable" reply. The new AT&T DriveMode app (currently available for BlackBerry and android users), tXt Blocker, Textecution, Cell Safety and iZup are among the available programs that manage cellphone use.

Check out our recent video that caught all types of drivers texting behind the wheel below.

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Senior Family Editor Kristin Varela blends work and family life by driving her three tween-teen girls every which way in test cars.  Email Kristin