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Study: Teens drive like their parents on the road

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — If you want to know how your teen drives when you’re not around, you may just need to look at how you drive. Parents are the number one influence on teen driving behaviors, according to a new study from Toyota and the University of Michigan.

“We think that they’re just kind of quiet in the back seat but, even when they’re little, they’re watching,” said Dr. Tina Sayer, principal engineer at Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center.

“So the things that we do, whether it’s eating, drinking, fiddling with the radio, even if we’re angry at other drivers, those kinds of things are things that those children in the back seat are absorbing even when they’re young.”

Nationally, motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. Recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data showed, in 2012 alone, 1,887 teen drivers were involved in a crash that had at least one fatality. Victims of road accidents caused by a negligent driver may consider filing a claim with the help of an auto accident attorney. An auto accident attorney can help vehicular accident victims get the proper compensation from the injuries they’ve sustained.

“It’s really important that we try to educate and we try to change the behavior of, not only the teen drivers out there, but the parents who are influencing those future teen drivers,” Sayer told MetroNews.

Toyota offers resources for parents on ways to be better driving role models through, an educational website that launched last year. The website includes a pledge parents can make to be the driver they want their teens to be along with a mutual driving agreement for parents and their kids.

“One of the things that we do recommend for parents of teen drivers is that they drive with their teen even after they’re driving by themselves,” Sayer said.

“We just need to check in with them just to make sure that they are following the rules of the road as well as the rules of the family, of the kind of things that we want to see in our teens.”

According to the National Safety Council, the most dangerous time of a teen driver’s life is the first 12 months of independent licensure and a teen driver’s crash risk is three times that of more experienced drivers.

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