March 20, 2007

BCAA study indicates that young adults drive like their parents

Burnaby, British Columbia – The BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation has released the results of their Young Drivers Study which indicate that kids drive like their parents.

The study, commissioned by the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation and managed by the Applied Research and Evaluation Services Department of the University of British Columbia (UBC A.R.E.S.), asked drivers between the ages of 19 and 24 to answer questions about their driving history, driving style, and driving behaviours, as well as their perceptions of the driving history, style and behaviours of their parents, and identify primary influences when it came to their personal driving practices.

The key result from the study is the influence of parental role modeling. Young Drivers sited their parents, especially fathers, as the primary influence when it came to their own driving. “Parents should understand that their driving practices are likely shaping the driving practices of their children and should ensure that they are good role models behind the wheel,” stated Allan Lamb, Executive Director of the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation. “In some cases family influence overpowered driver training courses in young driver behaviour,” added Lamb.

The BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation has also conducted focus groups with parents of young drivers. When parents were presented with the knowledge that their driving attitude and behaviour significantly influenced their children’s driving, they agreed that they needed to be more aware of their own driving practices and were interested in tools that they could use to help their children develop safe driving practices.

Driving affects the entire family according to David Dunne, Director of Provincial Programs for the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation, which is developing a program to provide parents and their children with the tools to become safer drivers. “The program will provide parents with resources to help them constructively parent their children through the early stages of their driving career – which can be a very scary time,” says Dunne.

The BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation is running two Young Driver Workshop pilot programs in the Lower Mainland and expects to have a formal workshop program in place by the fall.

In British Columbia in 2004, persons between the ages of 16 and 25 comprised about 14% of the driving population, according to ICBC. According to the most recent data from police attended crashes around the province, individuals in this age group were involved in crashes that resulted in approximately 42% of those injured and approximately 34% of those killed. Further details from the Young Drivers Study are available on the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation’s website at

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