Teenagers can mimic their parents' bad driving habits in dangerous ways, according to a new report. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health released this week, parents who drive under the influence often have teenagers who do the same.
The survey, which interviewed 16- and 17-year-olds and their parents, found that in 20 percent of respondents, parents who reported arrests for driving under the influence also have teenagers who say they also drive under the influence.
"What the data suggests here is that, look, if you model for your child the behavior you want them to do, they’re more likely to behave that way," says Dr. Pete Delaney, director of the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality.
"It’s not just the other people on the road and those in the car that you put at risk, you put your kids at risk for doing the same thing to other people down the road," Delaney continues.
But even in cases when parents said they didn't drink and drive, about 10 percent of teens still reported driving under the influence.
Montgomery County Police Captain Thomas Didone lost his 15-year old son in an accident and has become an advocate for safe driving programs.
"So in my position, not only as a parent who has lost a child in a crash, but also one that works with parents who have lost a child," says Didone, "as we do the investigations, there is definitely a correlation between parent behavior, parent values, and what the youth ultimately do."