Distracted passengers miss valuable lessons

You would have had to be living in a cave to have not heard the term “distracted driving” over the past several years.

The increased usage of smartphones and texting while driving have really brought this dangerous act to the forefront.

Many will argue there are other forms of distracted driving, all of which often end with the same result – a tragic accident.

What we haven’t heard much about – and maybe you’re even hearing about it here for the first time – is what we’ll call “distracted passenger syndrome.”

Those of us older than 30 can certainly recall those family trips when, in order to pass the time away, we played games with our siblings, and perhaps even fought a time or two before being told to climb over and sit behind the back seat and behave – which was possible because nobody was wearing a seat belt.

These days, kids are now glued to a DVD player or some other electronic device as soon as they climb in the car. What cause does that really have on these passengers?

No longer do they learn the lay of the land. Can they get from one side of town to the other? Do they know a red light means stop? What’s that ticking noise before we turn?

Kids are oblivious to what is going on around them while in the car, and ultimately it will result in the decline of driving skills, which will likely result in higher insurance rates and other expenses.

The next time a young person is traveling with you, have them put the electronic device down and pay attention to what is going on around them. Doing so might even force them to ask, “Are we there yet?”

– Grand Haven Tribune