Many states have adopted Graduated Driver Licensing programs. On paper, these programs require parents to monitor their teens so they get essential experience before being allowed to drive on their own. The problem is that parents have been acting as taxi drivers for all the early years of their children’s lives and now prefer the idea of taking a rest. The result is wildly different responses when teens and their parents are surveyed.
State Farm has just released a piece of research showing a high percentage of parents claim confidence their children drive well at night, do not text while driving, and do not carry passengers. Only about one-third of teens agree their parents have any positive influence over when and how they drive. This disconnection between the two sets of responses to the survey may suggest some degree of willful blindness among parents who prefer not to think about the risks of serious injury or death when teens drive unsupervised. There may also be some dishonesty from the teen drivers. Either way, these results suggest the GDL programs may not be working as well as possible.