Parents' Driving Behavior Is Not Better Than Teens'

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — While parents are preaching to their children to avoid texting while driving and other onerous mistakes, they are guilty of committing those same driving infractions.

Along with checking their smartphones and driving under the influence, 83% of teens said their parents engage in driving behaviors that are unsafe while they are in the car, according to a survey from Boston-based Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD). The study was initiated with a series of focus groups held in Philadelphia and Dallas followed by a survey of 2,537 eleventh and twelfth graders from across the country and 1,000 parents of high school aged teenage drivers.

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The data reveals that the teens are voicing their concerns about how lax their parents are in following road rules. The survey showed that parents admit to committing the dangerous and often illegal driving behavior that they do not want their children to emulate with 86% admitting to talking on a cell phone while driving, 80% admitting to speeding and 40% admitting to texting and driving while 60% of teens said they have asked their parents to stop their unsafe driving habits. What might be surprising is that 41% of teens reported that their parents fail to remedy their behavior.

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"The new data reveals that parents are just as susceptible to distracted driving as teen drivers and often operate under a 'do what I say, not as I do' policy when they are behind the wheel," said Dave Melton, Liberty Mutual Insurance's managing director of global safety. "Research shows that teens often replicate their parents' poor driving behaviors, so it's critical for the safety of everyone on the road that parents be a model for responsible driving whenever they are behind the wheel."