Anyone who takes a close look at traffic safety in America knows a lot about the unique risks posed by teen drivers. Concerns about teen drivers are valid based partly on their inexperience, but a new study conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) finds that teens are not the only culprits when it comes to making risky driving decisions. The study found that parents engage in the same dangerous driving behaviors - including driving without a seat belt, texting while driving and driving under the influence -- that they warn their children against.
Results of the study showed that 83 percent of teens surveyed report that their parents are engaging in unsafe driving behaviors in front of them. And these teens speak up -- 60 percent reported that they have asked their parents to change the bad habits they witnessed and drive more safely. Alarmingly, just over 40 percent of those teens said that even after they spoke up their parents refused to improve behaviors. Some parents (28 percent) even justify why they should continue to engage in these unsafe behaviors behind the wheel. When it comes to practicing what you preach, there are many parents that just don't follow the advice they bestow on their teens - and these results point to how hard these habits can be to break.
Additionally, the disconnect on distracted driving is real: most teens know the facts and recognize that certain behaviors are distracting and dangerous while driving - yet admit to participating in those behaviors nonetheless. The same disconnect is found with parents of teens, for example, 58 percent of teens surveyed reported that their parents text while driving, but only 40 percent of parents admitted to texting while driving. Risky mobile device usage on the road is a widespread problem, and is not confined just to young drivers.
"While parents may think they're setting a good example for their teens, these new findings suggest that some parents engage in unsafe driving habits more often than they might admit," said Dave Melton, driving safety expert with Liberty Mutual Insurance and managing director of global safety. "Research shows that teens often replicate their parents' poor driving behaviors, so it's critical for the safety of everyone on the road that parents be a model for responsible driving whenever they are behind the wheel."
Learn about safe driving practices and getting up to date on the rules of the road as a parent.
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