Parents: Put Down Your Phone and Drive

A new study released by Ford netted some interesting results regarding teens and their driving habits. However, more astounding than the basics of teen distracted driving are what the study found regarding parents' habits in their cars.

The survey conducted by Penn Schoen Berland found that parents are 40% more likely than teens to check their cellphones while driving. Yikes, practice what you preach, mamas and papas. And if you think you can outsmart the danger factor by using a hands-free system, you're flat-out wrong. A new study by AAA has found that hands-free most certainly isn't risk-free.

Here's a quick rundown of the study's results:

  • Both teens (76%) and parents (83%) consider distracted driving as dangerous as drunken driving, yet parents are still 40% more likely to check their cellphones while driving.
  • Parents and teens both wrongly perceive the winter months as the most deadly for teen drivers, but it's actually the summer months. In 2011, there were 358 teen driver fatalities in June, July and August combined, compared to 271 teen driver fatalities in December, January and February.
  • Unsurprisingly, while teenage boys are more likely to engage in aggressive driving behaviors, teenage girls are more likely to engage in social distractions in the car.
  • While parents are generally concerned about the safe driving habits of their teens, only 28% of them actually use some type of technology to help monitor and reinforce safe driving habits. There are many different options out there for concerned parents, such as Ford's MyKey and Hyundai's Blue Link, smartphone apps such as Otter that eliminates talking and texting ability while in a moving car, plug-in monitoring systems from several insurance companies and even the State Farm Driver Feedback app that "watches" your driving patterns and teaches you how to drive smarter.

What have you observed in your family? Is the lure of texting, emailing and Facebooking while driving more tempting for you than your teens? Tell us in the comment section below.

AAA Study: Hands-Free Isn't Risk-Free
Teen Driver Deaths Up as Summer Approaches
Teen Drivers Less Likely to Text With Passengers

By Kristin Varela | June 17, 2013 | Comments (3)
Tags: Family, Ford, Safety


The comments we receive from teens during our workshops fully supports these findings. While teens are struggling to make the right, albeit sometimes unpopular, road safety choices; their own parents are setting the wrong example. According to our findings, most teens will speak up to try and change their parents’ unsafe behavior while driving; sadly the parents response is more often than not dismissive about their kids’ concerns. Excuses include: "It's an important call," or "It'll just take a second," and worse yet, "You don't know what you're talking about." Parents setting those risky examples need to wake up and consider for a moment the consequences if something goes wrong...what if another driver is making that same excuse and ultimately ends up taking the life of your child? How valid is your excuse for driving distracted then? The risks are clear, the consequences are still happening with tragic frequency...parents are strongly urged to make the right choice so they make it home to their kids at the end of the day and aren't responsible for someone else not making it home.

Parents are the best teachers for their children. Children follows what their parents does. If they see their parents talking while driving, they are likely to does the same.

This is great information! Parents should definitely practice what they preach. In my opinion though, NO ONE should operate any type of mobil or navigation device from the drivers seat.

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