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New Survey Reveals Differences in Driving Habits of Teens, Parents

By Jeff Youngs, June 14, 2013
According to a new survey conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, commissioned by Ford Motor Company, most parents and their teen drivers believe that winter is the most deadly season for young drivers. That's not the case. Based on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data analyzed by Ford, the summer months produce the highest number of teen driver fatalities.

This summer, Ford Motor Company is doubling to 40,000 the number of teen drivers and parents that it reaches with its Driving Skills for Life program, a traveling road show that will visit 40 different high schools over the summer break. The program is focused on giving teen drivers real-world experience with challenging driving situations using special vehicles, and focuses on instruction related to driver distraction, speed management, space management, vehicle handling, and recognizing driving hazards.

"Ford has a long record as a safety leader, and continues to work through many channels to help address the risk factors associated with inexperienced drivers," said Steve Kenner, global director, Automotive Safety Office, Ford Motor Company. "Features such as MyKey and programs such as Ford Driving Skills for Life help parents and teens as they develop the skills needed to control a vehicle, detect hazards, and assess driving situations."

MyKey is a Ford technology that is standard on most of its vehicles, and gives parents the power to limit a vehicle's top speed and stereo volume, remove the ability to turn off the traction and stability control system, sound an incessant seat belt alert, and more. Other car companies offer similar features on their vehicles.

The study is revealing in that while 76% of teens and 83% of parents consider distracted driving to be as dangerous as drunk driving, parents are more likely to engage in the behavior when it comes to checking their phones. According to the study, 28% of parents check their phones while driving, compared with 20% of teens. Additionally, the study finds that teenage boys are more likely to engage in aggressive driving behaviors, while teenage girls are more likely to engage in social driving distractions.

In addition to conducting 40 hands-on driving clinics this summer, Ford is offering elements of its Driving Skills for Life program to another 150 high schools in the form of educational materials and Web-based learning tools related to the subject of safe driving. Interested parties can learn more about the program by visiting

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