Parents modeling distracted driving for teen drivers

We have covered many serious teen car accidents in previous posts. There are many contributing factors to teen car accidents including driver in experience and driver distraction. Car accidents are the leading killer of teens in the Nashville area and a study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety indicates that teen drivers are 50 percent more likely to be involved in a car accident during their first month of driving on their own as they are in their first year of driving alone.

The fact that new drivers are more likely to be involved in a car accident makes a recent survey into the habits of their parents very alarming. The State Farm Insurance survey indicates that at least half of parents are distracted by cellphones while teaching their teens how to drive.

About 53 percent of parents said that they were distracted by cellphones while teaching their teens how to drive and 61 percent of teens said that they noticed that their parents were distracted by their phones during these same driving sessions.

Chris Mullen, State Farm's director of technology research, called the survey alarming. "There is a need to remind parents that they are the role models," he said. "Whether it's deliberate or not, we're showing these teens what's acceptable in the car."

Apparently the cellphone use problem also exists outside of the teen driving lessons. About 54 percent of the teens surveyed said that their parents used their phone "sometimes, often, or all the time" while driving and about 43 percent of parents admitted to being distracted by their cellphone use while driving.

Source: USA Today, "Parents distracted while teaching kids to drive," Larry Copeland, Oct. 17, 2011

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