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Study: Distracted parent drivers may influence teens

Posted On Wed, November 28, 2012

A new study released by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute shows that there may be a link between distracted adult drivers and the driving behaviors of their children.

According to the study, conducted via interview with more than 5,500 teen drivers and their parents, young people are highly likely to mimic their parents' behavior behind the wheel.

Or, at least, what they believe to be their parents' behavior. The study shows that if a teen believes that their parents look for things while driving, they are four times more likely to do the same. Furthermore, if the teen thinks that their parents eat while driving, they are 3.4 times more likely to chow down behind the wheel.

However, the study also found a disconnect between what teens believed their parents' driving behavior to be and what the parents reported. For example, 30 percent of teens believe that their parents operate an electronic music device while driving, while only 10 percent of parents admitted to this behavior.

Whether or not teens overestimate their parents' bad behaviors, the adults would do well to be on their best behavior while driving with their children, in order to set a good example. Teens who are less distracted may get into fewer car accidents, which could reduce danger and their auto insurance rates.

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