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Are Parents At Fault For Bad Teen Drivers?

September 27, 2012

"Do as I say, not as I do." How many parents have said a version of this to their children? The fact is children do adopt the habits of their parents, both good and bad. According to a recent study, this principle applies to teen drivers as well.

Auto accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Out of more than 1,700 teens surveyed, most admit to making poor decision while drive. To what extent do parents driving habits influence the habits of their teen children? According to the study conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decision, teens who engage in dangerous driving most likely learned their bad habits by watching how their parents drive.

One example of bad driving habits learned by many teen drivers is talking and/or texting on a cell phone while driving. Distracted driving, which includes using a cell phone while driving, is a leading cause auto accidents that result in serious personal injury and death. Do teens ever use their cell phone while driving? According to the study, ninety percent of teenagers admit to using their cell phone while driving. If a child grows up watching their parent use their cell phone while driving, is any surprise that these children will do the same thing when they become young drivers? After all, it their parents do it, why should they do it right?

What about speeding? We have all heard the saying speed kills. Ninety-four percent of teen drivers admit to speeding while driving. The study did not discuss what percent of parents speed. However, would it truly be surprising to learn that the vast majority of parents speed while driving from time to time?

If parents expect their teens to drive safely, parents must set the example themselves. This means no cell phone use while driving, absent a true emergency. Parents should also travel the speed limit if they expect their children to do the same. After all, how many children really follow their parent's admonishment to "do as I say, not as I do"?

KGTV/CNN, Study: Teen Driver Learn Bad Behavior From Parents, September 24, 2012.

ABC 15.COM/CNN, Study: Teens Likely Learn Bad Driving Skills From Parents, September 24, 2012.

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