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Study: 86% of parents restrict teen cellphone use while driving :

January 19, 2016

Roughly 86% of parents place restrictions on their teens using cellphones while driving, but fewer limit the number of passengers, according to a new report.

Even smaller proportions of teens say they have such rules.

Researchers from C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital looked at driving limits for an age group they said is “at the highest risk for crashes and crash-related fatalities.”

Through the hospital’s National Poll on Children’s Health, they asked parents of teens a series of questions about driving restrictions. Responses from 1,517 parents showed:

  • 86% do not allow teens to use their cellphones unless they are parked;
  • 73% do not allow their teens to text and drive;
  • 61% do not allow their teen to drive after 10 p.m.;
  • 59% do not allow more than one or two friends in the car;
  • 40% do not allow teen passengers; and
  • 36% do not allow highway driving.

There was disagreement between parents and teens about some of the rules. Roughly 90% of parents said they limit their teens’ driving, while 81% of teens reported having restrictions. They showed the highest level of agreement when it came to cellphone limits, which may indicate increased communication and awareness of the associated risks, according to the study.

“The higher degree of disagreement between teens and parents in relation to the limits set for passengers and driving times/locations suggests the need for more dialogue in families to ensure rules and expectations around driving are understood,” researchers said.

Fewer parents place limits on passengers and driving times and locations if they perceive their teen to be an above average driver, the study found. Researchers said this may indicate parents agree with graduated driver licensing procedures that most states enforce.

To make sure everyone is on the same page, the researchers suggested implementing written parent-teen driving agreements. The Academy has one available at

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