Survey: U. S. Parents Often Ignore Children’s Warnings About Texting While Driving

A texting and driving simulator as part of the AT&T "It Can Wait" campaign. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
A texting and driving simulator as part of the AT&T “It Can Wait” campaign. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

U.S. parents often ignore warnings from their teenage children by driving while texting or under the influence of marijuana, according to a survey released today by Liberty Mutual Holding Co.

Forty-two percent of teen passengers said they have asked parents to stop text-messaging while operating a vehicle and 18 percent have tried to get them to stop driving when high on weed, the survey by the Boston-based insurer found. Among teens who asked for a stop to risky behavior, 40 percent said their parents either ignore them or justify their actions.

“We’ve inundated teenagers with safe-driving messages,” Dave Melton, managing director of global safety at Liberty Mutual, said in a phone interview. “They’ve experienced the consequences, they’ve put the candles against the telephone poles to remember a friend, or something like that, and they wonder why their parents don’t do this.”

“Distraction-affected” crashes, including those in which the driver was texting, grooming or eating, killed 3,328 people in the U.S. in 2012, compared with 3,360 the year before, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said. Organizations including Mothers Against Drunk Driving have helped reduce fatalities, the agency said in a June report.

Liberty Mutual, the second-largest U.S. seller of property-casualty coverage, joined with advocacy group Students Against Destructive Decisions to commission the survey of 2,537 U.S. 11th- and 12-graders and 1,000 parents of teen drivers.

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SOURCE: Bloomberg
Kelly Gilblom

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