Parents Often Have a Naive View of Their Children’s Driving

While impaired driving is decreasing among young drivers, overall safety still remains a problem.

Teenagers are at a much higher risk of being killed in a traffic accident than any other age group. With car accidents being the leading cause of death among teenagers, it is important to do everything possible to ensure that teenagers become safe and attentive drivers. A number of recent studies provides some mixed news about the driving habits of young motorists. While those studies show that drinking and driving has decreased significantly among young drivers, other studies have shown that parents often have a naive view of just how safe their children’s driving actually is.

Teen impaired driving

As the New York Times reports, impaired driving among teenagers is much lower today than it was just a couple decades ago. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that drinking and driving among 16- to 20-year-olds decreased by 59 percent between 2002 and 2014. For those aged 21 to 25, the drop was 38 percent. Experts say the dramatic decline is probably due to a combination of law enforcement, prevention efforts, and a decline in drinking among young people.

Even with the drop, however, impaired driving is still high among young motorists. About one in 15 drivers aged 16 to 20 admit to drinking and driving, while a disturbing one in five drivers aged 21 to 25 admitted to driving while impaired. With over 2,000 16- to 19-year-olds killed in traffic accidents in 2013 alone, driving remains the biggest threat to American teenagers.

Reality disconnect

Another study shows that teenage driving safety may be impacted by a “reality gap” between teenage drivers and their parents. As the News Wheel recently reported, a survey by Liberty Mutual Insurance found that parents often believe that their teenage children are much safer drivers than they actually are. The survey found, for example, that while 36 percent of teens admit to aggressive driving, only 16 percent of parents thought their children engaged in aggressive driving behaviors. Likewise, 73 percent of teens admit to speeding, while only 38 percent of parents thought their children did so. Finally, 68 percent of teens say they have driven with three of more passengers, but only 40 percent of parents thought their children had done so.

Those figures are disturbing because parents play an important role in improving teen driving safety. While parents may assume that their children are safe drivers, it is imperative that they talk to them about how to drive safely, including by laying down driving rules. Furthermore, parents must set an example for their children by following the rules of the road themselves.

Personal injury law

For both teenagers and adults, the road can be a dangerous place. For anybody who has been hurt in a car accident, it can be difficult to know what to do next. A personal injury attorney should be contacted as soon as possible. A qualified attorney will be able to help accident victims, including by informing them of available legal options and whether financial compensation may be a possibility, especially in cases where the other driver may have been at fault.