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Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
Instructor Kevin Jefferson tutors teen drivers.

Furthermore …

Survey: Parents are a teen driverís best friend

Indiana lawmaker s studying the state’s driver education law might want to look at the results of a recent survey to see how the graduated driver licensing provisions are playing out on the road. Restrictions for young drivers on carrying passengers, texting while driving and others might not be as effective as hoped.

The State Farm survey asked parents and teens about the laws, which are now in effect in Indiana and every other state. The survey showed a wide gap between what the parents think about the laws’ effectiveness and what teen drivers are actually doing.

For example:

• Seventy percent of parents believe their child almost always obeys the restrictions on carrying other young passengers, while only 43 percent of teens said they almost always follow this restriction.

• Sixty-nine percent of parents believe their teen driver generally follows restrictions on driving at night, while 48 percent of teens admit to sometimes breaking that law.

The two groups also had different views on what works in enforcing adherence to the restrictions. Parents believe that peer pressure keeps the young drivers honest; teens say it is the likelihood of being stopped by the police. Parents also claimed they monitor their teen drivers at a much greater rate than the teens reported. Sixty-six percent of parents said they almost always monitor whether their teen obeys the restrictions, while only 32 percent of teens said their parents generally monitor how they are following the rules.

Texting restrictions seem to be working, however. Seventy-two percent of teens said they almost always obey texting-ban laws – a substantially higher percentage than the other restrictions.

“Parents play a key role in enforcing and monitoring GDL laws and helping teens become safe drivers,” said Kendell Poole, chairman of the Governors Highway Safety Association. “Parents should not rely solely on GDL to instill good driving habits; they have to step up as well.”

Good advice.

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