Parents share blame in distracted teen driving, according to EverQuote

In addition to “fessing up” to phone use while driving, 55% of parents also admit to driving over the speed limit while their teen was in the car with them. (Photo: Shutterstock)
The fundamental question of nature versus nurture has been hotly contested throughout history. For some teens looking to explain their driving behavior, they directly link their parents’ behavior to theirs.

According to EverQuote’s 2017 Family Safe Driving Report, 23% of teens don’t believe their parents driving habits set a good example for them to follow, and another 23% of teens are unsure. 24% of parents admitted to texting or calling their teen while they knew their teen was driving, and 44% of teens admit they’ve received a call or text from a parent while they were driving.

The survey, which compares distracted driving behavior and sentiment among 1,183 U.S. teens ages 14-18 and 1,500 parents of teens ages 14-18, showcases the divide between parents and teens over what is more dangerous while driving.

Related: Are we safe drivers? Apparently not…

Top concerns for parents

For parents, the idea of their teen driving distracted poses a greater risk than driving drunk. Seventy-three percent (73%) of parents believe that cell phone use poses the biggest distraction for their teen driver, yet parents admit to more use while driving. Sixty-three percent (63%) of parents admit to checking a mobile application, texting or taking a phone call while driving compared to 30% of teens who admit to using a phone while driving.

Sixty percent (60%) of parents identified “getting into a car accident” as one of their top concerns; 43% identified “alcohol, smoking or illegal substance”; 28% identified “sexual activity.”

Related: Teen drivers seen as more reckless with age as fear abates

Teens’ opinions differ from parents

While distracted driving is the biggest worry among parents (74%), less than 21% of teens believe that distracted driving is more dangerous than driving drunk. Almost one in three teens admit they had or knew someone who lost a friend or loved one due to distracted, however.

The majority of teens (57%) would prefer that their parents monitor their driving behaviors versus their online search history; 50% of teens would be willing to let their parents monitor their driving habits — through a mobile app or built-in car technology — if they knew it would help save money on car insurance.

Despite their differences in opinion, parents and teens can work to keep each other in check going forward.

“Our goal in conducting this survey is to not only expose key issues facing today’s teen drivers, but also to empower parents and teens to have conversations on safer driving habits,” said Seth Birnbaum, CEO of EverQuote, “…and we believe that educating both parents and teens on how to monitor and improve driving habits is an important contribution to curbing these tragedies.”

Related: Washington state moves to outlaw distracted driving

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