Greenberg, Liberty Mutual, (617) 574-5874, (877) 516-5708 pager
Deborah Burke Henderson, SADD, (508) 481-3568
Meg Bennett, Weber Shandwick, (617) 520-7279
"INHERIT" PARENTS BAD DRIVING HABITS
Annual Liberty Mutual/SADD Teen Driving Study Shows
Parent Driving Behaviors Mirrored by Their Kids
(August 10, 2004) High school and middle school students overwhelmingly
say their parents are or will be the biggest influence on how they drive,
but the practices many teens say they are emulating represent some of
the most risky driving behaviors, according to the 2004 Liberty Mutual/SADD
Teen Driving Study.
"Nearly 60 percent of high school students say their parents are
the biggest influence on their driving, and 69 percent of middle school
students say parents will be the biggest influence when they do drive,"
said Liberty Mutual Executive Vice President Paul Condrin. "So
when we engage in unsafe driving behaviors, its no wonder they
are inheriting our bad habits behind the wheel."
Almost two-thirds (62 percent) of high school teens surveyed by Liberty
Mutual and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) say their parents
talk on a cell phone while driving. Almost half, 48 percent, say their
parents speed, and 31 percent say their parents dont wear a safety
Not surprisingly, given the surveys finding that many young drivers
are influenced by their parents driving habits, teens say they now follow,
or expect to follow, these same practices in roughly the same percentages
when they become drivers:
percent of high school drivers say they talk on a cell phone while
driving, and approximately half of high school teens who do not yet
drive (52 percent) and middle school students (47 percent) expect
they will engage in this behavior when they begin driving.
percent of high school drivers say they speed. Interestingly, most
high school teens (65 percent) who do not yet drive and middle school
students (79 percent) say they would not speed once they got their
percent of high school drivers say they do not wear their safety belt
while driving. High school students who do not yet drive (28 percent)
and middle school students (20 percent) are less likely to believe
they will drive while not wearing a safety belt.
is critically important that parents set the example they wish their
children to follow. Parents should not be afraid to establish expectations
for their young drivers, discuss those expectations frequently, and
ensure they are being met," said Stephen Wallace, SADD chairman
and CEO. "Five years of Liberty Mutual and SADD research repeatedly
shows that teens who have regular communication with their parents about
expected behaviors are less likely to make destructive decisions."
Parental influence on teen drivers may help explain a clear disconnect
between how teens view themselves as drivers and their actual driving
habits. Nearly nine out of 10 teens (89 percent) describe themselves
as safe drivers. Yet many engage in risky behaviors that often lead
to crashes, including speeding, neglecting to use safety belts, and
talking on a cell phone. Whats more, many teens dont view
these behaviors as dangerous, again suggesting that they believe they
are safe because their parents drive the same way:
percent of all high school students and 33 percent of middle school
students think speeding is safe.
percent all high school students and 29 percent of middle school students
say driving without a safety belt is safe.
percent of high school students and 32 percent of middle school students
say talking on a cell phone while driving is safe.
inability among teens to appreciate how unsafe their common driving
behaviors are is alarming, yet not surprising, given the fact that parents
and other influencing adults exhibit the same dangerous habits,"
said Kathryn Swanson, chair of the Governors Highway Safety Association.
"The Liberty Mutual/SADD report reminds all parents that we need
to be diligent in both telling and showing our children the safest way
Government and institutional data reveal why it is critically important
that projects like the 2004 Liberty Mutual/SADD Teen Driving Study continue
to draw attention to poor driving habits in the U.S.:
- According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, speeding
is a factor in 31 percent of all fatal crashes, killing an average
of 1,000 Americans each month, and the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (NHTSA) reports speeding is involved in 37 percent
of all young driver deaths.
Belt Use Nearly four in five drivers (79 percent) in the
U.S. wore their safety belts in 2003, according to NHTSA, yet safety
belt use was only 60 percent in vehicle crashes involving fatalities.
NHTSA estimates safety belt use by drivers and occupants saved more
than 14,000 lives that year.
Phone Use - While cell phone use as a cause of distracted driving-related
accidents is not extensive, NHTSA says drivers in a self-reported
study estimated nearly 300,000 crashes from 1998-2002 were the result
of cell phone use.
Solutions for Families
Liberty Mutual and SADD make available several parent-teen communication
tools to help teens make good decisions about their driving behaviors.
Call 1-800-4-LIBERTY for the free video, "Avoiding Collisions:
How to Survive the Teenage Driving Years;" and visit www.libertymutualinsurance.com
for more information about how to keep teens safe on the road. SADDs
Contract for Life and Opening Life-Saving Lines brochures
and the SADD/Liberty Mutual Family Communications Tips brochure
are available at www.sadd.org.
The Liberty Mutual/SADD Teen Driving Study is a subset of their annual
"Teens Today" project a program that studies and reports
on teens behaviors, attitudes and decision-making about such issues
as driving, drinking, drug use, sexual activity and family/peer relationships
and provides solutions for families to address these issues. This years
study reports on the completion of a total of 3,574 self-administered
surveys by middle and high school students in grades six through 12.
Atlantic Research and Consulting, Inc. designed the surveys and administered
them in a nationwide cross-section of 41 schools (21 middle schools;
20 high schools) between May 10 and June 14, 2004. The sampling error
for the study at the 95 percent confidence level is +- 1.3%.
Liberty Mutual and SADD
"Helping people live safer, more secure lives" since 1912,
Boston-based Liberty Mutual Group is a leading global multi-line group
of insurance companies whose largest line of business is personal auto.
Offering a wide range of products and services, Liberty Mutual is the
eighth-largest provider of personal auto and homeowners insurance in
SADD, Inc., founded in 1981, is the nations premier peer-to-peer
education and prevention organization and currently sponsors 10,000
chapters in middle schools and high schools nationwide.