Do as I Say, Not as I Do

Following those words may be more beneficial than you think, and it may even save your life. A recent study by Liberty Mutual and SADD concluded that about 65% of middle and high school teens will look to their parents as influences when they begin driving. What’s scary is the behavior the parents are unknowingly demonstrating to their teenagers is considered highly risky and factors for fatal car crashes.

Here are a few scary statistics that the report uncovered:

  • 62% of high school teens reported that their parents talked on a cell phone while driving
  • 48% of teens reported that their parents regularly sped, and
  • 31% reported that their parents do not wear a seatbelt

Proof that teenagers do, or will, in fact mirror their parents driving behavior is as follows:

  • 62% of high school drivers talk on a cell phone while driving, while about 50% of teens who do not yet drive say they will probably engage in such behavior
  • 67% of high school drivers report speeding while driving, though about two-thirds of all teens who do not yet drive say will not speed when getting their licenses, and
  • 33% of high school drivers say they don’t wear a seatbelt

What is strange is that a large percentage of teens do not believe these driving practices are risky, and the majority of teen drivers (89%) believe they are safe drivers.

  • About 30% of teens believe it is safe to speed
  • About 27% of teens believe driving without a seatbelt is safe, and
  • About 27% of teens surveyed believe driving while talking on a cell phone is safe

This shows just how much a parent’s influence has over their child. It also is the reason why groups such as Liberty Mutual and SADD repeatedly stress the importance of a parent’s role in keeping their teens safe on the road. Knowing that their behavior is being mirrored may help them change their own driving habits, or at least help them realize they need to be properly educating their teen driver about safety.