Perhaps all those campaigns targeting teenagers and distracted driving should be shifted to focus on parent instead. According to a survey recently conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), an alarming percentage of parents are driving distracted, and surveyed teens mirror their parents’ poor driving habits in equal amounts.
According to more than 1,700 teenagers surveyed, parents are conducting dangerous driving behaviors from texting to speeding, driving without a seatbelt, and even under the influence of alcohol. Talk about setting a bad example.
At least 91 percent of the teenagers’ parents surveyed talked on their cell phones while driving, while 88 percent sped, and 59 percent texted. Still alarming are the 47 percent of parents that drove without wearing a seatbelt, 20 percent under the influence of alcohol, and 7 percent under the influence of marijuana. Of course, the research also showed that parents are those teenager’s primary driving influence.
As a result, 90 percent of the same teens surveyed admitted to driving while talking on a cell phone, with 94 percent of them speeding occasionally, and 47 percent speed often or very often. 80 percent of teens have no problems sending text messages while driving, 16 percent have driven under the influence of marijuana, 15 percent have driven under the influence of alcohol, and 33 percent report not buckling up.
Unfortunately a lot of the bad habits result in younger passengers less likely to speak up when drivers are driving distracted. At the end of the day, it just becomes a vicious cycle.
“The best teacher for a teen driver is a good parental role model,” said Stephen Wallace, senior advisor for policy,research and education at SADD. “Parents and teens should have an active and ongoing dialogue about safe driving behavior and take the conversation one step further by signing a Parent/Teen Contract. But parents have to demonstrate good driving behavior from the onset so new drivers understand that safe driving rules apply to everyone equally.”