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Study: Teen Drivers Learn A Lot From Their Parents, Including Unsafe Behavior

Teaching teens how to drive sometimes consists of crying, yelling, frustration and sometimes some new scratches on the car, but getting angry at teens for their bad driving could actually end up pointing the finger back at parents, according to a new study.

The University of Michigan and Toyota say parents are the number one influence on how a teen will drive.

“Every time that we … stop paying attention to driving, take our eyes off the road, [or] hands off the wheel, that that is increasing our risk. That’s why we encourage so strongly for a parent to change their behaviors so that they’re the best role model that they can be for that teen,” said Toyota’s Principle Research Engineer, Tina Sayer.

Motor vehicle crashes kill more teens in the United States than any other cause. In 2012, 1,887 teen drivers were involved in a crash that resulted in at least one fatality. Pennsylvania is in the top 5 for the most teen crashes from 2012.

“They do as we do, which means that they’re watching us from a young age, and they’re mimicking our behaviors in the vehicle. So it’s extremely important for parents, even of young children, to think about what kind of driver they want their teens to be,” said Sayer.

Parents can make sure that especially when kids are in the car that they only exhibit safe driving habits and that will make for better teen drivers according to Sayer.