Parents Trust Their Own Kids' Driving, But Not Other Teens

Safety the driving force behind parents' support of GDL laws

Sep 28, 2011, 07:00 ET from Allstate Insurance Company

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Distractions and cellphone use are not the only worries of parents with children who drive. And a new survey from Allstate reveals that parents take some comfort when their teens hit the road, in the form of strong graduated driver licensing laws, professional driving instructors and, perhaps surprisingly, their own children.

Keeping mom and dad up at night

More parents of teen drivers worry about their teenager texting or being distracted by friends while driving—73 percent say this concerns them "a great deal"—than the possibility of their children drinking and driving—50 percent.

  • More mothers worry "a great deal" about texting and distracted driving than fathers, by a margin of 75 percent to 69 percent.
  • At 65 percent, moms worry more than dads, at 54 percent, about their children being at risk from other drivers.
  • Conversely, 55 percent of fathers are concerned about drinking and driving compared to 48 percent of mothers.
  • Parents in the West—at 76 percent—are outpaced only by those in the Northeast—at 88 percent—in their concern about distracted driving. Parental concern in the South is 69 percent and 66 percent in the Midwest.

"Technology and multi-tasking has made driving today completely different than years ago," says Phil Telgenhoff, Field Vice President with Allstate in California. "Knowing that teens watch what adults do while driving is why it is so important that everyone put down the phones, limit distractions overall and set a good example in the car."

Trust in thy teen…

Parents overwhelmingly agree they trust their own children to drive, and instead worry about other teenagers on the road—79 percent agree with this statement, while just 17 percent disagree.

  • This far outpaces parental concern about their children's maturity and the responsibility of driving—36 percent worry a "great deal"—and worry over their teen driver causing significant damage to the car—26 percent.

…and trust in their teacher

More than half of American parents—53 percent—say a professional driving instructor would do a better job teaching their children to drive than they would. This is a measurable difference from the actual experience of American parents, only 40 percent of whom were taught to drive by a professional instructor.

  • When asked why they prefer a professional instructor, parents cite:
    • Instructors' superior command of the rules
    • Belief that driving instructors would have more patience
    • Belief their children would be more likely to listen to the instructor
  • Parents who think they would do a better job themselves say they know their child best and they trust their own experience and driving skill.

The law is my friend

Eighty percent of parents support state laws that limit when and with whom teenagers can drive, while 54 percent say they "strongly support" these laws.

  • Fifty-eight percent of mothers strongly support these laws, compared to 48 percent of fathers.

Support increases the closer a parent gets to having a licensed teenage driver.

  • Seventy-one percent of parents with teens who currently hold a driver's license strongly supporting these laws compared to 60 percent of those with unlicensed teens in the home.

A wide majority of parents agree state laws that limit teenage drivers "make it easier for me as a parent to enforce driving rules for teenagers"—81 percent.

  • In the West nearly three-in-four parents, 72 percent, agree with this sentiment, while 92 percent of parents in the Northeast agree, 81 percent in the South and 78 percent in the Midwest.

About the Survey

The national survey of 600 American parents with children under age 18 was conducted September 6-8, 2011 via landline telephone, and has a margin of error of +/- 4.0 percent. The survey was conducted by FTI Consulting, Inc. (FTI) for Allstate.

About Allstate

The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer known for its "You're In Good Hands With Allstate®" slogan. Now celebrating its 80th anniversary as an insurer, Allstate is reinventing protection and retirement to help nearly 16 million households insure what they have today and better prepare for tomorrow. Consumers access Allstate insurance products (auto, home, life and retirement) and services through Allstate agencies, independent agencies, and Allstate exclusive financial representatives in the U.S. and Canada, as well as via and 1-800 Allstate®.

SOURCE Allstate Insurance Company