Speed Reads

'Thanks a lot, DAD.'

53 percent of teens who talk on the phone while driving are chatting with mom or dad

DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince were right: Parents just don't understand — at least when it comes to their complicity in their teen kids' risky driving habits.

A recent study presented at the American Psychological Association's annual convention reveals that 53 percent of teens who reported talking on their cell phones while driving were actually talking to mom or dad. The study's co-author, Noelle Lavoie, noted that "teens said parents expect to be able to reach them, that parents get mad if they don't answer their phone." Perhaps it's no wonder, then, that even though 96 percent of teens acknowledge using a cell phone while driving is at least slightly distracting, 86 percent of them do it anyway.

Parents could also be encouraging teen driver phone use in another, subtler — but no less impactful — way: 69 percent of adults aged 18-64 admit to calling and driving, suggesting a significant portion of teens are watching and learning this dangerous behavior from mom and dad, too.

Time to update a classic PSA... --Mike Barry