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Parents play vital role in teens' driving behaviors

Most Tennessee parents would attest they want the best for their children and do what they can to keep them safe and secure. While many parents beam upon hearing their children take after them, having a child that's a chip off the old block may be a negative when it comes to driving.

A new study recently released by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions shows that many teens that engage in unsafe driving practices learn such behaviors by watching their parents. Many parents may not be aware of exactly how much influence they wield over their seemingly detached and unobservant teens.

Whether parents realize it or not; behaviors like talking on the phone, texting while driving, speeding and driving after drinking or taking certain prescription drugs are all closely monitored by impressionable teens. When teens see parents willingly and openly engage in these dangerous driving activities, it serves as tacit permission for them to do the same.

While teen drivers must undergo driving education courses and several hours of behind the wheel training, one of the more influential factors contributing to how a teen drives is their parents. If a teen learns in a drivers education that it's unsafe to text while driving, but then witnesses their parents routinely do so they are much more likely to also engage in the dangerous behavior.

Parents of teen drivers or younger children would be wise to practice what they preach and ensure they are following safe driving behaviors. Not only will they be setting important examples for the next generation of drivers, they will also greatly reduce the likelihood that they will be involved in a car accident.

Source: WWL, "Study: Teens who drive dangerously learned from parents," Shana Rose, Sept. 26, 2012

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