Parents unaware of teens’ unsafe driving behaviors

Many parents fear their children’s sixteenth birthday as it most likely means their child will soon be getting his or her driver’s license. Teen drivers face many risks on the road due to their inexperience, and car accidents continue to be the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States.

To address the dangers teen drivers face, many states have passed graduated driver licensing laws that limit how many passengers they can drive with and how late they can drive at night. While these new laws have helpted reduce some car accidents, a new study found that many parents believe their teens are safer drivers than they really are. 

Many parents think their teenagers are not using their cellphones while driving, and that they don’t drive with more passengers than they should. However, a new study by State Farm Insurance found that teen drivers are driving more dangerously than they let their parents believe. 

The study found that 70 percent of parents surveyed said their teens follow state laws that restrict the number of passengers they can have. However, only 43 percent of teen drivers admitted to adhering to that law. 

The study also found that teens were more likely to admit to using their cellphones while driving and staying out past curfew compared to how often their parents thought they exhibited these dangerous driving behaviors. 

The study’s findings are troubling because many parents are unaware that their teens are practicing risky behaviors behind the wheel. The researchers said that parents should have conversations with their teens about the importance of following graduated driver licensing laws, and to monitor their teen’s driving behavior whenever they ride together. 

Source: CBS Detroit, “Do Parents Really Know What Their Teen Drivers Are Doing?” Jeff Gilbert, Sept. 16, 2013