October 1, 2011

In our last post, we were discussing the results of a recent survey about distracted driving. Dozens of studies have shown that talking on a cellphone or texting while driving are major contributors to car accidents. In fact, Oregon has outlawed all uses of handheld cellphones by all drivers, though drivers over 18 can use hands-free phones.

State Farm Insurance Co. decided to focus on one subset of drivers: parents and their teenagers, especially parents who are teaching their teens to drive. (It’s a bigger group than some might think: 87 percent of teens have a parent involved in their driving lessons.) The study found that parents often make exceptions for themselves that they wouldn’t accept for their children.

For example, one mother says she “only” takes calls when she’s teaching her 17-year-old daughter to drive if the phone is on hands-free and if the call is from one of her other (younger) kids. She gives herself permission to make these exceptions because they live in a rural area, where traffic is light.

Her daughter, on the other hand, is forbidden from taking the cellphone out of her purse until the car is stopped and turned off.

From a post last week, of course, we know that rural areas are just as dangerous as big cities when it comes to distracted driving.

That’s one reason that National Teen Driver Safety Week focused on parents this year. NTDSW ended on Saturday, Oct. 22, but the focus on safe driving behaviors should continue throughout the year. According to the NTDSW website, “teens that say their parents set rules and monitor their driving in a helpful, supportive way are half as likely to crash and twice as likely to buckle up as teens with less involved parents.”

The best way for parents to do this is to “drive the jive,” or drive the way they want their teens to drive.

Source: USA Today, “Parents distracted while teaching kids to drive,” Larry Copeland, Oct. 17, 2011


Categories: Blog