Distracted Driving: Did You Learn It From Your Parents?

10/18/2011 01:02 pm ET | Updated Dec 18, 2011

You may think of yourself as a good driver, but many people engage in distracted driving every day without realizing it. But what does it actually mean to drive 'distracted'? Snacking, talking to your friends in the backseat, texting, putting on makeup, and using a GPS can be considered distracted driving, according to, the official US Government website for distracted driving. Even daydreaming and driving while in a highly emotional state can impair your ability to drive well.

This week is National Teen Driver Safety Week. It's a scary fact, but statistics show that your age group are the most at-risk drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the age group with the greatest proportion of distracted drivers is 15 to 20 years old. What's more, 16 percent of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported to have been driving while distracted.

And even though your friends may be a major source of distraction, a recent study found that the most dangerous time for teens is actually when they drive on their own shortly after getting their license. According to the study, teen drivers are around 50 percent more likely to crash in their first 30 days of unsupervised driving than they are after a year of experience driving on their own!

But it's not just teens. A new survey found that 61 percent of teens say that their parents were distracted at least once by their phones while teaching them how to drive. And some say that this is typical behavior -- 29 percent of teens state that their parents have been distracted while teaching them to drive either "sometimes, often, or all the time." (Plus, 53 percent of parents fess up and admit to being distracted at least once while teaching their teen to drive!)

So, what's your take? Did you learn to drive from a distracted driver? What are your bad driving habits and how are you going to break them? Let us know in the comments!

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