Posted on: Jun. 08, 2017 in Teens, Driving, Safety

Young drivers are at a greater risk for injury and motor vehicle related deaths than older more experienced drivers. In fact, the CDC cites it as the leading cause of death for teens in the United States. Not only are they more likely to take risks and less likely to be aware of how dangerous certain maneuvers are, they are more likely to become distracted.


According to a recent study by SADD (Students Against Drunk Driving) and Liberty Mutual, an auto insurer, parents are not helping this situation. Many are not modeling proper driving behavior, leading to an increased likelihood for bad habits in their children. The study notes that distracted driving is a factor in 25% of car crashes.

The study involved a survey of 2,500 teens and 1,000 parents. More than half the parents admitted to using apps while driving and nearly two-thirds take phone calls. 33% of the teens said they’d asked their parents to stop doing this.

Half the parents surveyed said that they will call their teens when they suspect or know the child is driving, and one-third expect the kids to answer the call or otherwise respond. This puts children in a difficult position since it appears many know they should not be using the phone while driving.

Parents who continue to use their phones while driving are setting a bad example for their teens. Instead, adults should emphasize the dangers of cell phone use and insist on no cell phone use while driving. Parents should refrain from calling or texting their child unless there is a true emergency, while setting the expectation that the teens will reply when it’s safe to do so. Encouraging check-ins when the child reaches the destination is also a good habit.

In addition, parents should instruct their teens to program the GPS and set up music playlists before driving, as these are the two most commonly used apps by teens while driving. Of course, adults should model this behavior as well.

Setting kids out on the road as beginning drivers is nerve-racking for many parents. By setting kids up with good habits and expectations for safe driving practices, parents and teens can work together to reduce the number of accidents these young drivers face.

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