Teens Need Better Driving Practice From Parents, AAA Study Finds

More time spent behind the wheel and in varied road conditions was advised.

ByABC News
October 12, 2010, 7:38 AM

Oct. 12, 2010 — -- When parents teach their teenagers how to drive, the experience can be filled with loads of pressure and anxiety.

"You got a red light. You got a red light," says one dad as his daughter nearly blows a traffic signal.

"There's a siren. You need to pull over. You need to pull over to the right!" shouts another dad as a patrol car speeds by the car his daughter is driving. "Did you not understand what I meant by pull over?"

Despite the stress and the emotions that come with teaching teenagers how to drive, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says those supervised lessons are incredibly important, because car crashes are the leading cause of death for that group.

To read an excerpt of a handbook for parents and teenagers on staying safe behind the wheel, click here and here.

Teens have the highest crash rate of any group in the United States, and the first few years appear to be the most dangerous. In 2008, 1,368 U.S. drivers between the ages of 15 and 18 died in traffic crashes.

In a new study released this week by the foundation, AAA took an unprecedented look for four months at parents and teenagers as they hit the road during driving lessons. The study included 50 North Carolina families with teenagers driving with learners permits. Dashboard cameras were attached to the families' cars and parents were interviewed 10 times during the year-long learners period.

From the study, which was conducted by the University of North Carolina's Highway Safety Research Center, AAA found that parents did not spend enough time teaching their teenagers how to drive and that teenagers did not get enough diverse driving experience before they received their licenses.