Gauging teen safety behind the wheel

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News 12 This Morning

September 17, 2013

(WRDW)--"The leading cause of death among teens in the U.S. is motor vehicle deaths," said State Farm Agent Chris Douse.

That's why State Farm decided to conduct a survey, finding out if parents and teens were on the same page when it comes to safe driving.

"We wanted to get some feedback from about 500 parents about what they thought about their teens in reference to teen driver safety how safe they think their teens are," said Douse.

He said the differences were clear.

"Sixty percent of the parents said 'hey, my children, they know a lot about safe driving and we talk on a regular basis' whereas about 30 to 32 percent said they did not," Douse explained.

He said one thing parents can do to bridge that gap is increase their safe driving conversations.

"Educate our teens about driving safely," he said.

The easiest way to do that, according to Douse, is by getting interactive by downloading a safe driving app or following an online program.

"We decided to come up with different little programs such as our driver feedback app they can download on their phone, give them feedback about how they're driving," he explained.

The study also looked at nighttime driving, finding that parents feel their teens are being safer at night than the teens admitted to being.

But, it did find that both parents and teens agree texting and driving is dangerous.

"Get off the cell phone," Douse said. "No texting. If yo're going to use your phone, use a hands free device. Those are just some simple, small cost effective things that you can do in order to keep your teens safe on the road."

Now, he hopes parents and teens will work harder to talk safety behind the wheel.

"That's why we did the survey, so parents can hear hey--you don't know your teen like you think you know your teen when it comes to driver safety," he said.

State Farm also offers online program "Celebrate My Drive" where teens can register and keep up with their safe driving commitments, as well as register their high school for a chance to win grant money. For more info on this program, click the link below.

To see the entire study, click on the PDF below.

And, if you aren't with State Farm, consider asking your insurance provider about safe driving incentives, apps, and/or programs that your teen can get involved with.

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