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Teens model driving behaviors after parents: study

December 12, 2012

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Torrance, CA – Teens are influenced by their perceptions of their parents’ driving behaviors and believe their parents engage in more distracted driving than may be the case, according to preliminary results of a study from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center.

As part of the study, researchers surveyed more than 2,600 newly licensed teen drivers and nearly 3,000 parents of new teen drivers between August and September 2012. Among key preliminary findings:

  • A teen is twice as likely to deal with passenger issues when parents report doing so, but 5 times more likely if they perceive their parents as doing so.
  • Nearly 1 in 10 parents reported reading texts or emails while driving, and nearly 1 in 3 teens do the same.
  • One-third of teens reported their parents use an iPod or other electronic music device while driving, while only 10 percent of parents said they do.
  • 26 percent of teens reported reading or sending a text at least once every time they drive, although only 1 percent of their parents said their teen did this.

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