by Gabriella Medina
A report by Liberty Mutual found that two-thirds of teens mirrored parents’ distracted driving habits. Teens have been told time and time again not to drive distracted, and research shows parents/guardians could actually be good deterrents to risky driving behavior, but it starts with parents recognizing and changing their poor driving habits.
As you may know, we’re on social media and continue to use it as a way to spread the safe driver message. I’m going to show you some disturbing imagery that proves parents have picked up poor driving habits and unfortunately they’re influencing their inexperienced teen driver. These photos were pulled from Instagram by simply searching the hashtag “#teendriver.”
Warning: Viewer Discretion Is Advised
These parents, and many more, are excited and scared that their teen is learning to drive. My guess is they don’t realize (except for that one mom who blinds her daughter with her camera flash) they’re distracting the driver. They could cause a severe crash; not to mention these parents and others set a precedence that passenger distractions and cell phone use are OK in the car.
These parents are doing exactly what we fear—they’re distracting the driver!
Aceable conducted a survey of over 1,200 teens and found that approximately 75 percent reported their parents engage in distracted driving—whether texting, talking on the phone, eating, or grooming/applying makeup. How can we address this problem?
I say, we speak up to distractions. Speak up to your parent when they try to put on makeup while driving, speak up to your friend Snapping a picture of you both while you’re driving, and speak up to your peers so they don’t fall accustomed to their parents’ poor driving habits. Speaking up takes guts—it takes nerve—but I believe you can help make our roads safer by speaking up to distractions.
Use our resources to help:
- distracted driving statistics,
- participate in the distracted driving Zero Crazy activity, and
- parent education and outreach.
Gabriella Medina is an assistant transportation researcher with TTI’s Youth Transportation Safety Program. She’s the social media coordinator for Teens in the Driver Seat. Her interests include government and media relations, social media engagement trends and topics, and data visualization.