Distracted driving is always unsafe, whether you are cruising down a busy freeway or alone on the road in front of your house. Of course, the more pedestrians and motorists that are around you, the greater the number of potential victims for the negligent driver who puts texting with friends above public safety.

Even worse is putting children at risk of serious injury by committing distracted driving in front of a school. Sadly, this thoughtless and reckless behavior is quite common in California, according to a study conducted by the Allstate Foundation.

Student researchers recently spent an hour watching traffic at 80 intersections throughout the state that were near schools. They recorded all the instances of distracted driving that they observed during that hour.

When the results came back, it turned out the observers spotted 8,378 drivers distracting themselves while driving near a school. The most common version of distracted driving was cellphone use, even though this is illegal in California. A total of 3,183 drivers were caught using their phone.

The next-most common distraction was food and drink. The survey reports 2,554 drivers eating and drinking. Next was personal grooming; 975 incidents of combing hair, applying makeup and the like were reported.

Other distractions included driving with an animal on the driver’s lap or the dashboard, or even driving with headphones on.

It does not appear that the observers witnessed any car accidents, but it should be remembered that they captured a brief snapshot of bad driving around schools. For example, we do not know if they observed traffic during a time when students were arriving or leaving.