A report from The Allstate Foundation finds many parents are largely unaware that their teens are speeding, driving while distracted, and even driving under the influence. Making matters worse, teens may be picking up these same behaviors from their parents.
The findings were released in The Foundation’s new Driving Change Report. Among the key data:
- Seventy-nine percent (79 percent) of teens admit to speeding, but only 55 percent of parents believe their teens speed.
- Ninety-five percent (95 percent) of teens admit to getting a moving violation; only 79 percent of parents believe their teens have committed an offense.
- Twenty-three percent (23 percent) of teens admit they’ve driven after drinking alcohol and/or using marijuana, but only 7 percent of parents believe their teens have driven under the influence.
- Eighty-seven percent (87 percent) of teens admit to using cellphones while driving, but only 63 percent of parents say their teens use phones while driving.
“Our teen safe driving program has contributed to a nearly 48 percent decline in teen crash fatalities since 2005,” said Steve Sorenson, executive vice president, Allstate. “While there has been progress, we continue to encourage parents and teens to have an open dialogue about driving. It’s also important that parents ensure their teens are wearing their seatbelts, obeying speed limits and eliminating distractions, because these actions help to keep teens safer on the road.”
The report also found that parents are engaged in some of the same risky behaviors as their teens:
- Eighty-four percent (84 percent) of parents admit to speeding (compared to 79 percent of teens).
- Eighty-eight percent (88 percent) of parents say they use their phones while driving (compared to 87 percent of teens).
“Teens continue to tell us their parents are the number one influence on how they drive, so as parents we have an important responsibility to model good driving behaviors,” added Sorenson.
“We must find new and compelling ways to motivate teens and parents to engage in safe driving habits.”
There are three key steps that parents can take to keep their teens safer on the road:
- Drive with their teen at least 30 minutes a week, especially in the first year after they are fully licensed.
- Get familiar with their state Graduated Driver Licensing laws. These laws can help them set their own rules of the road for their teen.
- Model good driving behavior on the road by putting away cellphones, buckling up and obeying speed limits.