Teenagers who drive dangerously learned the behavior from mom and dad according to a new study from Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions.
They find an alarming percentage of teens report their parents make poor and risky decisions while driving, such as texting while driving, talking on the phone, speeding, even driving under the influence or without a seatbelt.
Click here for details on the study.
Louisiana Highway Safety expert Jim Champagne says kids, sitting in the back seat, learn from that behavior and when kids see things like a parent texting and driving, they think they can do it successfully too. "And they watch their parents and their guardians and they see if they're doing the things that they're being told as young drivers to do, and if they don't, it becomes extremely upsetting to them."
Given the high percentage of teens who report their parents engage in unsafe driving behavior while their teen is in the car, the study's authors say, "It follows that two-thirds (66 percent) of teen drivers report their parents live by different rules than the ones they expect of their teens. With so many parents not abiding by their own safe-driving rules of the road, a 'do as I say, not as I do' policy may be undermining the parent/teen driving relationship."
"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."