UMTRI-Toyota teen driver distraction study
National Study Shows Significant Correlation Between Parent and Teen Driver Distractions
Preliminary findings from a national study of teen drivers (ages 16 to 18) and parents of teen drivers, conducted jointly by UMTRI and Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc., show a significant correlation between parent and teen behaviors behind the wheel. Results suggest that parents play a significant role in modeling risky behavior on the road.
The UMTRI-Toyota Teen Driver Distraction Study, the largest scientific survey of its kind, also found that texting while driving remains commonplace among teens, despite ongoing, nationwide efforts to educate drivers on the significant risks associated with these behaviors.
Read the U-M news release.
The UMTRI-Toyota study is based on national telephone surveys of more than 5,500 young drivers and parents. The survey includes interviews with 400 pairs of teens and parents from the same household (dyads). This is a unique factor that allows researchers to analyze closely how driving behaviors among parents and teens within the same family unit relate to each other. In addition to a national sample, the study includes local surveys in Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston, Long Island, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.
"Driving education begins the day a child's car seat is turned to face front," said Dr. Tina Sayer, Toyota Collaborative Safety Research Center principal engineer and teen safe driving expert. "As the study shows, the actions parents take and, by extension, the expectations they set for young drivers each day are powerful factors in encouraging safe behavior behind the wheel. Seat belts and good defensive driving skills are critical. However, the one piece of advice I would give to parents to help them keep newly licensed drivers safe on the road is to always be the driver you want your teen to be."
Nationally, motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for U.S. teens and, in 2010, seven teens between the ages of 16 and 19 died every day on average from motor vehicle injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The UMTRI-Toyota study, sponsored by Toyota's Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC), was designed to shed new light on frequently discussed driving risks and to identify effective driving role models. The study also looked at a range of risk factors that receive less public attention but pose great risks on the road as well as the role parents and peers play in encouraging distracted driving behaviors.
Toyota's November 27 announcement of the study represents only a portion of the study's preliminary findings. UMTRI and Toyota's CSRC continue to analyze, compare, and contrast the data and will publish additional findings incrementally over the next few months.
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