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National Teen Driver Safety Week was recently observed during the third week of October as it has been since 2007. This year the campaign focused on how parents can help teach their teenagers to avoid car accidents and drive safer.

However, a survey conducted by auto insurer State Farm that was released during the campaign has produced some disturbing results. Specifically, 53 percent of parents admitted using cell phones or other electronic devices while teaching their children to drive. However, that number could potentially be even higher, since the same survey found 61 percent of teenagers reported their parents being distracted by cell phones while helping them learn to drive.

The survey found similar results in terms of how often parents use cell phones or electronic devices while doing the driving themselves. Although 43 percent of parents admit using a cell phone "sometimes, often, or all the time" while their children are in the car, 54 percent of teens report witnessing this same behavior.

Distracted Driving Defined

The U.S. Department of Transportation defines distracted driving as "any non-driving activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of crashing." Types of distracted driving include:

  • Talking or texting on a cell phone
  • Eating or drinking
  • Reading
  • Talking to passengers

DOT officials warn that parents who engage in distracted driving behavior send the wrong message not only to teenagers learning to drive, but to all children in the car. They stress the importance of parents putting away their cell phones while driving, because parent behavior sends a long-term, lasting message to the children who are riding in the car.

Distracted driving is a significant problem that can result in serious auto accidents. If you or someone you know is involved or injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, a Lake County area attorney can provide assistance.

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