Allstate Survey Shows Parents’ Attitudes on Teen Driver Safety

Most parents of teenage drivers worry about their children’s safety but believe that state restrictions on teen motorists and professional instruction can make the road less dangerous for their offspring, according to an Allstate Insurance survey released Wednesday.

The phone poll of 600 parents nationwide found that 79 percent say they trust their children behind the wheel, but a majority of parents worry about risks including other drivers, distraction and drinking and driving.

Seventy-three percent of respondents said the possibility of their teen being distracted by text messaging or friends worried them “a great deal,” while 61 percent said other drivers were a major concern, 59 percent cited their children’s inexperience as a major issue and half worried about their kids drinking and driving.

Eight of 10 parents surveyed said they support state laws that limit when and with whom teens may drive, with 54 percent voicing strong support for state graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws that regulate those issues.

Because of their immaturity and inexperience behind the wheel, teenagers have long been considered a high risk car insurance group, which can make it a challenge for families with teen drivers to find affordable coverages.

GDL programs nationwide have imposed restrictions on teen drivers, including the times of day they may drive, the number of passengers they may carry and other requirements. The programs typically include three phases that young drivers must pass through in order to be granted full driving privileges, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Those phases include a supervised learner’s period, an intermediate license that limits unsupervised driving and a full license after the first two stages are completed.

The Allstate survey found that 81 percent of parents agree that state restrictions make it easier for them to enforce driving rules. There were regional and other divisions in attitudes about the effectiveness of GDL programs, however.

Mothers supported restrictions on passengers and time of day driven in greater numbers than fathers (54 percent to 48 percent). Support was higher among families of licensed teens, with 71 percent of teenagers who hold a license strongly supporting those laws, compared with 60 percent of parents with unlicensed teens.

In the Northeast, 92 percent of parents felt state restrictions make it easier for them to enforce driving rules, while 78 percent of Midwestern, 81 percent of Southern and 72 percent of Western parents felt the same way.

Fifty-three percent of parents nationwide said they thought a driving instructor would do a better job of teaching their teens to drive than they would, citing the belief that instructors would have more patience, a firmer grasp of driving regulations and that teens would listen more closely to them.

The Allstate survey was conducted in early September and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent, according to the company.

To find out how policyholders rank Allstate on claims, rates and service, readers can research user-submitted Allstate auto insurance reviews online.

About Gregor McGavin
Gregor McGavin is an award-winning journalist who has reported across the country for such publications as The Associated Press, the Arizona Republic, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and the Press-Enterprise.

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