Teens who engage in distracted and dangerous driving most likely learned their bad driving skills from their parents, according to a new study.
The majority of more than 1,700 teens surveyed admitted to making poor decisions while behind the wheel.
Nine out of 10 said they talked on their cell phone while driving and 94 percent admitted to speeding. A majority of teen respondents said their parents practiced "do as I say, not as I do" rules when it came to driving.
"These findings highlight the need for parents to realize how their teens perceive their actions," said Dave Melton, a driving safety expert.
Meanwhile, when kids notice their parents driving poorly, they seldom say anything. Only 21 percent of teens in the study said they would ask their parents to stop driving while under the influence of alcohol.
"Your kids are always observing the decisions you make behind the wheel, and in fact have likely been doing so since they were big enough to see over the dashboard," Melton said in a summary of the survey. "You may think you only occasionally read a text at a stop light or take the odd 30-second phone call, but kids are seeing that in a different way. Answering your phone once while driving, even if only for a few seconds, legitimizes the action for your children and they will, in turn, see that as acceptable behavior,"
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About Jim Liebelt
Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim has over 25 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, and has been on the HomeWord staff since 1998. He has served over the years as a pastor, author, youth ministry trainer, adjunct college instructor and speaker. Jim’s culture blog and parenting articles appear on HomeWord.com. Jim is a contributing author of culture and parenting articles to Crosswalk.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Olympia, WA.
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