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Teens learn about distracted driving from their parents

Distracted driving seems to get worse with every passing year. People spend time on their cellphones, sending text messages, checking social media, taking pictures and much more. Even merely making a call can become a significant distraction.

As with anything else, distraction makes someone worse at the task at hand. It makes bad drivers even worse drivers, and it even makes otherwise safe drivers a real threat on the road. Distracted driving causes deadly accidents every single day.

Should we blame teens?

Teenagers often get a lot of the blame. They already get behind the wheel without much experience, which makes them a risk. They grew up with cellphones, so they use them constantly. The two mix together to put distracted, inexperienced drivers all over the place.

Plus, teenagers admit that they do it. When asked if they texted while driving, about 40% said they did. That’s just the ones who would admit it, and that’s just looking at texting. Phones have many other distractions.

However, some experts claim that the blame should not just fall on teens. It should also fall on their parents.

A dangerous example

Teens, like all children, learn by example. They watch what their parents are doing, and that’s what they do. They may talk about being rebellious and independent, but they mimic most of what they see.

In one study, about 50% of parents texted their children when they already knew that the teen driver was in the car. Roughly 30% said they expected the child to text them back. How can parents tell teens not to text and drive and then engage with them in these very same text messages?

On top of that, more than 50% of parents said that they actually used their phones in some capacity — not just texting — while driving. When asked if they used phone apps at all while driving, about 68% of teens said they did. Clearly, they’re watching their parents use their phones in the car, and then they’re doing the same thing.

In fact, they have seen this happen so often that they don’t even think it’s a distraction. In the study, 80% of teens said they could use an app without getting distracted, a very concerning position for so many of them to take.

Distracted accidents

As a societal issue, it’s clear that parents bear some of the blame for high distracted driving rates. Of course, that does not absolve those individual drivers of blame if they cause a crash. Those who get injured in these accidents may have the right to seek financial compensation in Vancouver to cover their costs.