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Parents Set Bad Driving Examples for Teen Drivers

Rules of the road violated by adults who should know better.

by on Sep.10, 2009

Courtesy of Liberty Mutual

Nearly 60% of high school students think their parents are the biggest influence on their driving.

Okay boys and girls what are you learning from watching your parents drive?

If the latest survey on safe driving habits is any indication, you are learning plenty. Unfortunately, it is an education in negative behaviors.

Liberty Mutual Insurance has just released an analysis that claims to show that moms and dads are not exactly setting good examples as the drive. Sixty nine percent of parents of teen drivers report they practice at least two dangerous or distracting behaviors while driving, and nearly half do at least three.

The survey is particularly critical of dads, who are more likely to be guilty of unsafe driving habits. Three-quarters of the fathers surveyed admit to at least two distracting or dangerous driving behaviors, compared to 63% of the mothers. Dads are significantly more likely to be distracted than moms are by changing the radio station using the radio dial or tuner (61% compared with 48% of moms) and using a GPS system (39% vs. 26% of moms).

“Teens get safe driving examples and advice from many sources, television ads, driving instructors, friends and family members, but no one more than mom or dad,” says Dave Melton, a driving safety expert with the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety. “And if they grow up watching their Mom or Dad speed, talk on their cell phone, text and email, or pay more attention to what’s on the radio than their driving, they are going to think it’s okay to do the same thing.”

Dads also are significantly more likely than moms to read an e-mail on a PDA (6% vs. 2 %), take and upload pictures with their cell phone (7% vs. 2%), and even post updates to their Facebook or MySpace profiles (4% vs. 1%) while driving.