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Why Parents Matter

Perhaps better than anyone, you know the vital impact parents have on the lives of their children. This is only amplified when kids become teenagers, and we’ve found this is particularly true when it comes to driving. Our National Young Driver Survey (NYDS) surveyed over 5,600 teens from across the country about their driving perceptions and behaviors. We found that the majority (87 percent) have a parent involved in teaching them to drive, and 4 in 10 teens report only having parents teach them to drive.

We also found that the way parents approach driving affects how teens perceive crash risks and practice safe driving behaviors. According to new CHOP research, teen drivers with peer passengers were more likely to be distracted just before a serious crash than teens driving alone. Among the teens who said they were distracted by something inside the vehicle before crashing, 71 percent of males and 47 percent of females said they were distracted directly by the actions of their passengers. Males that drove their friends were almost six times more likely to perform an illegal maneuver and more than twice as likely to drive aggressively just before a crash than when driving solo. Females rarely drove aggressively before a crash, regardless of whether they had passengers in the car.

Involved parents who set rules and monitor their teens' driving behavior in a supportive way can lower their teens' crash risk by half. We also found that teens who perceive their parents as acting in this way are:

  • twice as likely to wear seat belts
  • 70 percent less likely to drink and drive
  • half as likely to speed
  • 30 percent less likely to use a cell phone while driving
  • significantly less likely to drive with multiple passengers


The research shows that parents make a big difference when it comes to teen driver safety. You can learn more about the NYDS and other recent research we’ve conducted in Driving Through the Eyes of Teens, A Closer Look and Parents Teaching Teens to Drive: The Adolescent Perspective.

 

Why Parents Matter

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