You’ve had this talk before. You don’t mind what they do, as long as they do it safely. Getting behind the wheel after a night of fun just puts them in unnecessary danger—especially since they’re putting others at risk with their reckless behavior.

But it seems no matter what you say, your parents just won’t listen.

Parents Often Make Excuses When Children Warn Them About Driving Distracted

It may seem like a Freaky Friday situation, but the truth is that many parents are just as likely to engage in risky driving behavior as their children—and they usually respond defensively when a child objects. According to a recent survey by major insurance company, Liberty Mutual, parents may be acting irresponsibly on the roads by calling, texting, and driving while high, all the while ignoring warnings from their teenage passengers.

Researchers found some disturbing evidence when it came to a parent’s:

Phone calls.

The most commonly reported distraction was taking or making cell phone calls, with 88 percent of teens saying their parents regularly talked on the phone while driving.

Texting habits.

Over 42 percent of teenagers surveyed said that they have had asked to ask their parents to stop texting and driving. When asked how the parent responded, 40 percent said their parents ignored the objection or justified their actions.

Marijuana use.

While teens remain the likeliest group to drive while high on marijuana, five percent of teenagers surveyed had ridden as a passenger in a car with a parent who was driving after using marijuana. A further 18 percent of teens said that they have tried to get their parents to stop driving under the influence of pot.

Alcohol use.

Marijuana isn’t the only illegal activity parents are practicing behind the wheel. Sixteen percent of teens said that they had ridden in a car with an adult driver who had had at least one alcoholic beverage.

Teens May Be the Voice of Reason in Distracted Driving Discussions

Research seems to indicate that teenagers are more likely to take distracted driving warnings seriously, likely because most anti-distraction campaigns are aimed at them rather than their parents. Many teens have lost a friend in a crash—bringing home the reality of reckless behavior and making them think twice about responding to a text on the road.

Teenagers, take heart: the survey shows that your parents are likely to listen if you have an open and honest discussion. Over 80 percent of parents said that they stopped their dangerous driving habits because their children insisted, so keep pressing the issue! Send your parents a link to this article on Facebook or Google+ to show them you are serious about changing their ways.

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James Roswold
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James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.