Save Our Teen Drivers

Advocating for driver's education changes. Educating the public on the problem. Finding a solution that saves lives.

Parents’ driving effect how teens drive

Posted by lapearce on November 23, 2009

What bad habits are you teaching your children?

Are you a good driver? Do you use your turn blinker, follow at a safe distance, obey speed limits… do you use your phone while you drive, do you yell at other drivers, do you drive without your seat belt? If you have children, you should probably review how you drive, not just for the safety of your children today, but for the sake of their driving future.

While we may think that teenagers strive to be nothing like their parents, when it comes to driving, teens look up to their parents more than anyone else. “If children grow up watching their Mum or Dad talk, text and email on their mobiles while driving, they’re going to think it’s okay to do the same thing.” says Peter Rodger chief examiner of the Institute of Advanced Motorists in the UK.

Rodger says that children start to take note of their parents driving style from a young age. Even if you enforce seat belt use for your children, if you don’t wear one, your child will likely not buckle up when they start driving.

A US based study done by Liberty Mutual and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) found that 60% of high school students said their parents are the biggest influence on their driving. Younger children report even higher numbers, showing they are watching you long before they are able to drive themselves.

So 60% of teens look up to their parents as the number one influence on their driving, yet:

  • 62% say their parents talk on the phone while driving
  • 48% say their parents speed
  • 31% say their parents don’t wear seat belts

So perhaps it’s not surprising to learn that:

  • 62% of teens talk on the phone while driving (half of those who don’t yet drive think they will too)
  • 67% speed (65% of non drivers think they will)
  • 33% don’t wear seat belts (28% of non drivers say they won’t)

The numbers are too close to be coincidence. This is why our driving program involves parents. Many of the safe driving tips we teach were not taught to parents, or have been forgotten. When parents are involved the crash risk drops substantially among teen drivers. If parents put forth a good example for their teens, crash rates drop even more. Before you do something unsafe on the road look in the back seat: will your decision effect more than just you?

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