Parents often set bad example for distracted driving

U.S. & World

Parents teaching their teens how to drive, also teach by example.

But they’re not setting a very good one, according to a new Liberty Mutual study. Most parents surveyed say they establish safety ground rules for their new drivers, But when the parents don’t obey those rules Teens follow suit.

“Multitasking, driving while drowsy, texting, driving with headphones on and taking selfies,” said Mike Sample with Liberty Mutual.

About 36-percent of parents justify their own bad behavior because they have more driving experience. But distracted driving is always dangerous.

“It kind of gives the teens a green light that well, ‘Dad’s doing it, it must be okay for me to do it,'” Sample said.

Another problem: more than a third of parents say it’s a challenge to enforce punishments when a teen breaks a rule, or even the law.

“38% of that parent group mentioned that they’re doing it because it’s inconvenient,” Sample said.

About a third of parents said they don’t always enforce the rules because it’s hard to monitor their teens. But technology can help.

More car manufacturers are offering built-in safety monitoring features. There are also apps and in-car devices that can track speed, and even silence phone notifications when the car is in motion. 

“You could have 3 months experience or 20 years experience if you glance away form that road something bad could happen,” Sample said.

Other tips: enable “Do not disturb while driving” on your teen’s i-Phone, or download the Safe and Sound app for Android phones to automatically silence notifications while the car is in motion.

Also, a good thing for parents to know: 44-percent of teens surveyed said the primary reason they use the phone while driving is to contact or respond to their parents.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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