Boston, MA (PRWEB) August 3, 2009 -
Nine years of research from Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), has shown that teen drivers spend significantly more time driving each week in the summer than during the school year, with the result that they face increased risks from bad driving behaviors.
Liberty Mutual and SADD's teen driving research found that teen drivers spend 44 percent more hours driving in the summer - nearly 24 hours a week from June through August, as opposed to 16.4 hours a week the rest of the year. At the same time, the most recent Liberty Mutual/SADD survey in 2008 found that around one third of teens say they frequently speed (39 percent), talk on cell phones (37 percent) and text message (30 percent) while driving, even though they are well aware of the dangers of these behaviors.
Not surprisingly, the increased time on the road coupled with greater exposure to bad driving behaviors means that the summer months pose the greatest risks to teen drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says more teen drivers are likely to die in car crashes during the summer than any other time of the year.
''As teens head into the last full month of summer vacation, they are looking for ways to maximize their free time before heading back to school. Day trips to the beach, evenings out with friends, and other activities often mean longer driving distances, unfamiliar routes, and unexpected driving challenges,'' said Stephen Wallace, SADD Chairman and CEO. ''To combat these challenges, it is important for teen drivers, and their parents, to review and discuss driving basics, rules and regulations before they embark on end-of-summer adventures.''
Parents play a vital role in the safety of teen drivers. More than half of teen drivers say their parents establish clear consequences for breaking driving laws and 87 percent believe their parents are likely to follow through on these consequences. More importantly, 89 percent of teen drivers indicated that it is very important to them that their parents trust them regarding their driving. Parental enforcement of driving laws and family driving rules makes teen drivers more accountable for their driving behaviors and thus increases driving safety.
To help parents enforce safe driving, Liberty Mutual's teen driving website, http://www.libertymutualteendriving.com , offers resources for them to discuss safe driving with their teens. The site includes driving tips, accident prevention strategies, and a Parent/Teen Driving Contract, which allows parents to outline safe driving rules and list consequences and rewards for driving behaviors.
''Responsible and safe teen driving is a two way street,'' says Dave Melton, a driving safety expert with the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety. "During these busy summer months and into the school year, both teen drivers and their parents must take steps to ensure safe teen driving. Parents need to establish clear rules and expectations for their teens and teen drivers need to practice safe driving habits behind the wheel."
Liberty Mutual's teen driving website also provides fun and easy ways for teens to brush up on basic driving skills such as following street signs, mastering parallel parking, and managing wet roads. The website offers important videos about teens and driving, which include important tips on spotting road hazards and avoiding accidents. Also at libertymutualteendriving.com, teen drivers will find an interactive driving hints guide, information on state driving laws, and a driving quiz that challenges them to think about their driving skills and compete with their friends.
About Liberty Mutual Group
'Helping people live safer, more secure lives' since 1912, Boston-based Liberty Mutual Group (Libertymutualgroup.com) is a diversified global insurer and fifth-largest property and casualty insurer in the U.S. based on 2008 direct written premium. Liberty Mutual Group ranks 86th on the Fortune 500 list of largest U.S. corporations, based on 2008 revenue. The company has over 45,000 employees located in more than 900 offices throughout the world.
The eighth-largest auto and home insurer in the U.S., Liberty Mutual (libertymutual.com) sells full lines of coverage for automobile, homeowners, valuable possessions, personal liability, and individual life insurance. The company is an industry leader in affinity partnerships, offering car and home insurance to employees and members of more than 12,000 companies, credit unions, professional associations and alumni groups.
For more than 27 years, SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) has been committed to empowering young people to lead education and prevention initiatives in their schools and communities. Founded as Students Against Drunk Driving in 1981, SADD (sadd.org) has become the nation's preeminent peer-to-peer youth education, prevention and activism organization, with nearly 10,000 chapters in middle schools, high schools, and colleges nationwide. SADD now highlights prevention of many destructive behaviors that are harmful to young people, including underage drinking, substance abuse, risky and impaired driving, and teen violence and suicide.