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Liberty Mutual & SADD

Promoting Responsible Teen Driver Behavior

  • Liberty Mutual Teen Driving: SADD

    Since 1991, Liberty Mutual and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) have worked together to promote responsible behavior through open communication between teens and parents.

    As part of our efforts to raise awareness and to serve as a resource that empowers teens and parents to communicate openly and make healthy and safe decisions, we feel it's important to listen to a teens point of view related to road safety to best understand the decisions they face and how and why they make decisions.

    Our most recent survey of high school juniors and seniors, conducted in the spring of 2012 found that a high percentage of teens report that their parents engage in unsafe driving behavior and those teens repeat their parents poor driving habits in nearly equal amounts.

    Liberty Mutual Insurance/SADD 2012 Teen Driving Survey
    Parental Driving Behavior
    (observed by teens)
    Teen Driving Behavior
    (self-reported)
    Talk on a cell phone while driving 91% 90%
    Speed 88% 94%
    Text message 59% 78%
    Drive without a seatbelt 47% 33%
    Drive under the influence of alcohol 20% 15%
    Drive under the influence of marijuana 7% 16%
    Download an infographic version of the survey data

    Although this survey indicates that teens are mirroring unsafe driving habits of their parents, the bright side of these findings is that parents have a very strong influence over their teen's behavior behind the wheel and can also have a positive impact on their decisions by adhering to the rules expected of their teens.

    Past Liberty Mutual and SADD Surveys have also shown that good communication between parents and their teenagers can also have a positive influence on risk taking by their teens. Some guidelines for successfully communication include:

    • Praise your kids for doing the little things than can so easily be taken for granted
    • Make extra effort to understand your teen's world
    • Set a good example - your kids will do as you do
    • Talk with your kids early and often about tough topics
    • Teach your kids to listen by listening to what they have to say
    • Read between the lines - your children may find it hard at times to say what's on their mind
    • Always remember the importance of reasoning
    • Lighten up - take time out if you need to
    • Be prepared to let some things go, and take advantage of opportunities to make a positive point
    • Respect your child - try to work together as partners
    • Remind your child that you love them and care about their safety
    • Don't ever give up - know that it is getting better with every passing day, as long as you continue to make the effort

    For more information on communicating with teens, download Reality Gap (PDF), a book about the dangers of modern-day adolescence, as well as hope and inspiration, by Stephen Wallace, Chairman and CEO of SADD.