Bad Teen Driving Is Really YOUR Fault


teen drivingForget vampires, werewolves, Jason, and Freddy Krueger. There isn't much scarier to a parent than the idea that their kid will one day be a teen driver. And because parenting a teen pretty much means coming to realize that EVERYTHING that goes wrong is your fault, it's time you realize that you play a big-time role in making the roadways a terrifying place to be.

Basically, today's parents suck at teaching their kids to drive. Notice that emphasis on "today's." Our generation, a new study claims, is actually WORSE than our parents were at the whole teen driver thing.

Yeah, I didn't think that was possible either. I remember my mom sucking her teeth and shrieking. A lot. Try being brand new at this whole driving thing and having a high-pitched wail thisclose to your ear. It's nerve-wracking people!

But at least she was paying attention.

Insurance company State Farm surveyed parents and their kids and found that 52 percent of Moms and Dads admitted to fiddling with their cellphones when they should have been keeping an eye on their kids' navigating skills. And the way the teens tell it, that's a conservative number. The number of kids copping to distracted parents was closer to 61 percent.

On the one hand, I get it. Some drivers make you so nervous that you have to do something other than watch the road, lest your heart actually does climb up your throat and come out your nose. But unlike your 30-something-year-old best friend, your teenager is someone whose driving you can criticize. Loudly. And hopefully constructively. How else do parents expect their kids to learn?

And is beating the next level of Angry Birds really that important when you consider more than 2,300 drivers between 15 and 20 years old are killed annually? That more than half of American teens are now more likely to get into a wreck in their first MONTH with their license than any other time in their first two years on the road? If it is, do me a favor, call a friend to drive you to the DMV. It's time you turn in your license. 

Do you think it's OK to zone out and play with your phone while your teen is driving?


Image via Wendy Piersall/Flickr



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Melis... Melissa042807

When my children are driving someday, ain't no way I'll be able to do anything else but hold on for dear life with my eyes glued to the road, nitpicking every single little thing. I'm a freak like that. My poor husband has to put up with my backseat driving whenever we go anywhere. I fear for my children's sanity when I'm teaching them how to drive in the future. 

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

The instructors are just as bad. I took lessons when I was learning because I wanted some experience without my then-toddler in the backseat. When I got in the car the instructor told me to drive. When I said that I'd never driven before he just told me to hit the gas and back out of the spot. Nothing about how hard to hit the gas or how hard to steer or anything. Within ten minutes he was spacing out and every time I hit a stop sign I practically had to poke him to get him to tell me which way he wanted me to go.

Then there's the test itself. Maybe ten minutes tops, on back roads and the only thing they really test is your ability to parallel park. I haven't parallel parked since taking my test four years ago. I know one person who was told to go around the perimeter of the parking lot, four right turns and pull up at the RMV door. Another screwed up but the examiner said she would give him his licence anyway since it was his birthday.

It's not just the parents. The whole system is set up to allow any idiot to drive, mostly because not driving just isn't an option in most of the US nowadays.

somuc... somuchlove4U

Nope I don't think it's ok. You are there to instruct them.

Frank Gibson

Safe Teen Driving is an issue we can all support. That’s why our company developed MOTOsafety, a new service that helps parents monitor and coach their teenage drivers. The service gives parents a daily report card showing how their teen performs on key safe driving habits such as speeding, harsh braking and rapid acceleration. MOTOsafety gives parents a great tool for increasing the safety of teens on the road. Learn more at

Summer Scheifer

well i think since i teach my sister to drive it isnt hard you just need to trust what they've learn from you. You don't have to worry to much because the car was built with a quality mazda carparts so I think your daughter would be fine driving it.

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