Parents May Be the Biggest Distraction for Teen Drivers

Parents worry about their children being distracted while driving, but a new study from the American Psychological Association found the biggest distraction may actually be mom and dad.

The APA surveyed more than 400 teen drivers aged 15-18 across 31 states about distracted driving. The consensus was parents expect their kids to answer their calls and texts, so they do, despite knowing the dangers of taking their eyes off the road.

“They want to check up on us more, but when I’m driving, I can’t be distracted,” said teen driver Kyle Saltorini.

The APA survey found that 37 percent of teens between 15 and 17 said they pick up when mom or dad calls. The rate of picked up calls jumps to 50 percent for 18-year-olds. If there is some good news in the survey, when it comes to texting; the rate of response drops.

The APA found that eight percent of drivers 15-17 said they answer a parent’s text, even if they’re driving. However, the rate doubled to 16 percent of 18-year-olds admitting to replying to a parent’s text while driving.

All of the replies to calls and texts paint a grim picture for teen drivers. The numbers from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration show that at any given daylight moment across America, 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving.

In addition, 10 percent of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. The age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted.

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