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Parents' distracted driving teaches unsafe behaviors

In recent years, state and local governments have worked to decrease the occurrence of distracted driving with safety campaigns that were primarily aimed at teenage drivers. However, a recent study indicates that the parents of those teen drivers may need to pay closer attention to those campaigns.

According to the survey, which was conducted by insurance company State Farm, 53 percent of parents admitted to be distracted by cell phones or other electronic devices when they were teaching their children to drive. This is a disturbing statistic, especially in light of the increased danger of car accident injuries and fatalities among teenage and other new drivers. In fact, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recently reported that teenage drivers are 50 percent more likely to be involved in a car accident during their first month with their driver's license than after one full year of driving alone.

In addition, it seems that a majority of parents are also using cell phones or other devices when they are behind the wheel. According to the State Farm study, 54 percent of teenagers said that they had seen their parents use a cell phone while driving "sometimes, often, or all the time."

According to State Farm's Chris Mullen, these statistics could have harmful repercussions for teenage drivers. "There is a need to remind parents that they are the role models," he said. "Whether it is deliberate or not, we're showing these teens what's acceptable in the car."

If you or a family member has been injured in a New Jersey car accident caused by distracted driving, please contact Breslin & Breslin for a free consultation.

Source: USA Today, "Parents distracted while teaching kids to drive," Larry Copeland, Oct. 14, 2011

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