Parents unaware of teens’ dangerous driving: study

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Boston – Many parents don’t know that their teen children disregard basic rules of driving and engage in potentially dangerous behavior behind the wheel, according to a report from Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions.

Researchers studied focus groups in Chicago and the District of Columbia and surveyed nearly 1,700 high school juniors and seniors and 1,000 parents of high school drivers about teen drivers’ actions and opinions.

Most teens (81 percent) said aggressive driving is dangerous, but 36 percent admitted to engaging in it, according to the study. Nearly one-third (31 percent) said they have experienced “road rage” (defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as an assault with a motor vehicle, which is a criminal offense) when set off by another driver.

Yet some parents were oblivious of their teens’ behavior. Only 16 percent of parents said their teens engage in aggressive driving, and 13 percent said their children have experienced road rage. Other findings included:

  • 18 percent of teens said they don’t wear a safety belt.
  • 71 percent of the teens who labeled themselves “safe drivers” said they speed.
  • 38 percent of parents said they believe their teens speed.

Liberty Mutual and SADD encourage parents and teens to discuss driving and think about signing a Parent-Teen Driving Contract.