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Teen driving behavior most risky when they're alone, survey says

Published: Saturday, April 20 2013 8:20 a.m. MDT

"Parents have a huge responsibility," said Robinson. "Parents are at the top of the list where teens get their habits."

The teen responses reinforced some stereotypes. For instance, young drivers said males are more apt to take risk and that young drivers are much more likely to follow rules when they are driving with their parents in the car.

Each generation finds its own risks. While nearly all young drivers wear their seat belts and most don't engage in the kind of dangerous driving behaviors favored by prior generations, such as drag racing and drifting, the report said, a fair portion multitask profusely, such as talking on their cell phones while driving or using handheld gaming devices. Others, it added, get behind the wheel while tired.

That's one of the challenges for the Lambs. Mason is their youngest; the others learned to drive before cell phones and texting were nearly a staple of the teen life experience.

"This is all new to us. The other kids didn't text like he texts," Debbie Lamb said. "It's different now."

Most of the teens surveyed consider themselves to be average drivers (56 percent), while 42 percent consider themselves above average in behind-the-wheel skills. Three-quarters of them consider their friends average drivers, 16 percent say they're below average and 8 percent say their friends are better than most. They note their friends consider themselves above average in greater numbers (36 percent).

Bridgestone Americas is also sponsoring a scholarship video contest with some hefty prizes, including a $25,000 first prize. Details of the teen video driver safety contest are online at teensdrivesmart.com, along with details of a national driver safety tour.

EMAIL: lois@desnews.com, Twitter: Loisco

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