Many parents admit to using cellphones with children in the car

As parents, we try to model positive behaviors for our children in many areas - the way we treat other people, the foods we eat, our work ethic and so forth. Unfortunately, many parents forget that children will also notice bad habits we have established concerning cellphone usage - particularly when behind the wheel.

According to a recent poll conducted by the University of Michigan, many parents use their cellphones while driving with their children in the car. Of those questioned, about 66 percent reported that they made phone calls while their children were in the car. In addition, about 15 percent of the parents questioned admitted that they sent text messages while driving their children.

The study - published in Academic Pediatrics - involved over 550 parents, all of whom had children between the ages of one and 12.

As children often emulate their parents' actions, these statistics mean more children are likely to participate in these distracting behaviors when they receive their driver's licenses.

Across the country, distracted driving is responsible for a significant number of fatal collisions every year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,328 people were killed in auto accidents caused by distracted drivers in 2012. In addition, approximately 421,000 people suffered injuries in distracted driving crashes in the U.S. in 2012.

Particularly concerning is the fact that young drivers are responsible for many of these serious collisions. According to the NHTSA, motorists in their 20s are responsible for 27 percent of fatal distracted driving collisions in the U.S.

The dangers of distracted driving in Mississippi

In Mississippi, few laws have been passed to regulate cellphone usage on the road.

Currently, bus drivers in Mississippi are prohibited from using cellphones of any type - including cellphones with hands-free capabilities - when on the road. In addition, bus drivers are not allowed to text while driving. A texting ban is also in place for novice drivers in Mississippi.

Many states have enacted tougher distracted driving regulations, such as texting bans for all motorists in the state. Although Mississippi has yet to enact such laws, distracted drivers who cause auto accidents in Mississippi can still be held accountable for the damage done in the collision.

When a distracted driver causes a motor vehicle accident, the consequences can be serious for those involved. If you have been injured in such a collision, you should seek the advice of a knowledgeable personal injury attorney, who will work to obtain the compensation to which you may be entitled.