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Grandparents Drive Safer With Grandkids Than Their Parents, Study Says

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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - Grandparents in North Texas say they’re pleasantly surprised by the findings of research conducted into how they fare as drivers with their grandchildren in the car.

The new research, released in the August issue of “Pediatrics,” suggests children are actually safer in a car driven by their grandparents than when their parents are behind the wheel.

“I think we tend to be a little more careful,” says Irene Campos, 65, of Dallas.  “We realize what we’ve got on our hands and we calm ourselves down more than a parent would.”

Ruthie Falt has four children and says she does not hesitate to let her parents drive her children around when they’re in town.  “Aside from me, that’s who I’d like them to drive with,” says Falt.

The study included insurance data on motor vehicle accidents that occurred between January of 2003 through November of 2007.  The information was gathered as part of the Partners for Child Passenger Safety Study.  The research found that grandparents made up 9.5 percent of the drivers but that grandparents’ accidents cause only 6.6 percent of the total injuries.  The researchers concluded that children riding with their grandparents were 50 percent less likely to be injured in an accident.

AARP says this study debunks some of the myths about older drivers.  Amy Goyer, Family Expert for AARP, says her organization’s research shows grandparents are highly motivated by their grandchildren; motivated to take better care of themselves; live healthier; lose weight; stop smoking and drive carefully.

Kathy DeCarlucci, 67, believes parents may be more likely to use cell phones or text while driving.  She agrees with the research.  “I think that’s interesting,” says DeCarlucci about the study.  “Maybe they (parents) are not driving as safely as they should be and maybe it will make them understand that we are very cautious.”

The one area in which grandparents did not fare well was child safety seats.  Researchers say  more than 25 percent of grandparents did not use child restraints properly and 25 percent of grandparents skipped them all together.

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