State Farm

State Farm

September 16, 2013 07:00 ET

Parents and Teen Drivers Disconnected on Graduated Licensing

State Farm® calls for improved communication and attention regarding safe teen driving

AURORA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 16, 2013) - There are strong disconnections between Canadian parents and teens regarding graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws, according to a new State Farm survey. However, the opportunity for improved dialogue could potentially lead to safer teen driving and may even save lives. In the lead-up to what State Farm hopes will be the first officially recognized National Teen Driver Safety Week, 500 parents of teen drivers and an independent sample of 280 teen drivers were surveyed in June about their perceptions, opinions and behaviours in relation to provincial GDL laws.

Critically, the findings suggest parents of teen drivers believe their teens are following GDL laws more methodically than teens report. They also suggest parents monitor their teens' adherence to GDL laws more than teens report. Yet, there's one thing that parents and teens are aligned on - the most likely reason that teens don't follow GDL laws is peer pressure.

Key survey findings include:

Parents overestimate teens' adherence to two key GDL laws:

  • Nighttime driving - 69 per cent of parents believe their teen almost always follows nighttime driving restrictions while fewer than half (48 per cent) of teens indicate to almost always following this law.
  • Passenger number restrictions - 64 per cent of parents believe their teen driver almost always obeys this life-saving statute while only 42 per cent of teens state they almost always follow this restriction.

Parents significantly overestimate the impacts of their monitoring efforts:

  • Eighty per cent of parents feel that their monitoring of teens' adherence to GDL laws is one of the reasons that teens will follow driving restrictions; only 56 per cent of teens agreed with this.
  • For nighttime driving restrictions, 63 per cent of parents said they almost always monitor their teen's obedience to the law while only 33 per cent of teens report this was the case.
  • For passenger number restrictions, 58 per cent of parents said they almost always monitor their teens and only 22 per cent of teens state their parents almost always monitor their adherence to the law.

Under the (wrong) influence:

  • Parents and teens listed peer pressure as the most likely reason for teens to not follow GDL laws (34 per cent and 33 per cent, respectively).

"The survey findings highlight the need for greater dialogue about teen driver safety within families, communities and with public policy makers," says Sam Palmerio, Public Affairs Manager, State Farm Canada. "Car crashes are the leading cause of death for Canadian teens and GDL laws are critical to reducing high-risk driving situations. With the right focus and conversational tone, we can empower teens to consistently make smart decisions as they enjoy the freedom that comes with getting a driver's licence."

State Farm has partnered with the charitable organization Parachute to establish a formally recognized National Teen Driver Safety Week (Oct 20 to 26, 2013) in Canada, dedicated to raising awareness and seeking solutions for unnecessary teen road-related injuries and fatalities. Parachute's activities (under their initiative Project Gearshift) include the appointment of six youth ambassadors to act as leading voices, community engagement activities and a workshop in Ottawa on October 22 that will unite local high school and university students, community members and industry leaders.

"I'm working hard to make sure that people in my community are talking about safe teen driving," says Ontario Project Gearshift student ambassador Melissa Tigert. "I truly believe that positive, candid conversations can lead to significant change, and I hope they can develop into a larger, national movement."

Concurrently, State Farm is inviting high schools in Alberta, Ontario and New Brunswick to participate in its second North American Celebrate My Drive® program. Celebrate My Drive raises awareness of the challenges teens will face on their driving journeys; asks parents, teachers and students to commit to safe driving habits during National Teen Driver Safety Week; and, rewards schools and communities for commitments to teen driver safety.

During the week of October 18-26, communities will be encouraged to make safe driving commitments on behalf of a registered high school. The greater the number of commitments, the better a school's chances will be of winning a grant of $25,000 or $100,000 and one of two grand prize concerts from Kelly Clarkson. High school administrators must register their schools for communities to participate in Celebrate My Drive. Registration is open until October 17. State Farm agents in Alberta, Ontario and New Brunswick will also be hosting local student-focused events.

Additional Materials

For a report showing key statistics, please visit:

For an infographic of key GDL results, please visit link:

For b-roll or images, please visit Vimeo or Flickr.

About the Survey

An online survey was conducted through the State Farm Center for Consumer Feedback from June 10 - July 11, 2013. 500 Canadian parents of a 14-17 year-old with a learner's permit or driver's licence (after data quality screening, the final sample was 482) responded to the survey. An independent sample of 280 Canadian teens ages 14-17 (after data quality screening, the final sample was 244) responded to the survey. The survey asked for their take on parental monitoring and graduated driver licensing laws, if teens follow the laws and the reasons why they do so.

About State Farm

State Farm has been serving Canadians since 1938. State Farm is a Fortune 100 company and is the leading Property and Casualty insurer in North America with more than 80 Million policyholders. In addition to providing affordable car insurance rates, State Farm has more than 500 Canadian agents and 1700 employees providing insurance and financial services including mutual funds, life insurance, vehicle loans, critical illness, disability, home and auto insurance to our customers in Ontario, Alberta and New Brunswick. For more information, please visit, join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or see us on YouTube

About Parachute

Parachute is a national, charitable organization dedicated to preventing injuries and saving lives. Parachute officially came into being in July 2012 and unites the former organizations of Safe Communities Canada, Safe Kids Canada, SMARTRISK and ThinkFirst Canada into one leader in injury prevention. Parachute's injury prevention solutions, knowledge mobilization, public policy, and social awareness efforts are designed to help Canadians reduce their risks of injury while achieving Parachute's vision of an injury-free Canada where Canadians enjoy long lives lived to the fullest. For more information, visit

About Celebrate My Drive

Celebrate My Drive is a different approach to a leading public health risk. Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death among Canadian teens, and a teen's first year on the road is the most dangerous. Using research as a guide, State Farm® is approaching teen driver safety, a winnable public health battle by engaging teens in positive, supportive safe driving conversations. Grounded in the principles that sharing is more powerful than scaring, State Farm created Celebrate My Drive to emphasize the benefits of safe choices while celebrating teens' first exciting years on the road. Learn more about the initiative at

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