Freshman Ben Fisher texts and virtually drives in the Texting and Driving Simulator at Central York High School on March 8, 2013 in Springettsbury Township, Pa. (Sonya Paclob/York Daily Record via AP)

Helicopter parents could be increasing the risk that their children will wreck the car each time they can’t resist texting their teenager while the kid is driving.

That’s the finding of a survey released this week that explored the disconnect between what people think and what people actually do. About 96 percent of drivers in the survey see using an app — which could include taking selfies, using the GPS or even changing tunes on a music device — as distracting and potentially dangerous; yet, 68 percent admit doing it.

The survey — conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions — found a striking number of parents who effectively violate the rules they lay down for their children on texting and driving.

Eighty-seven percent of parents who responded said they enforce texting and driving rules. Yet 50 percent admitted that they texted their teenager even though they knew their teenager was driving.

As if that’s not bad enough, the survey found that 29 percent of those parents expected a response before their child reached their destination.

This was especially true if the messages came from Mom. By examining implicit attitudes among teenagers, the survey found that teens tend to believe that a message coming from their mother is more important than one coming from their father or a friend.

Those findings come from techniques used to sort out implicit beliefs from explicit ones — what people might really thing about a subject, as reflected by their gut reactions and snap decisions, as opposed to what they say they think.

The survey also provided ammunition for teenagers who complain that their parents are hypocrites when it comes to safe driving.

In a section on teen-reported parents’ driving behaviors, 38 percent said their parents texted while driving either always, often or sometimes. Forty-two percent said their parents speed, about 20 percent said their parents drive without a seat belt, and 11 percent reported that their parents were drinking and driving.


Forty percent also said their folks didn’t stop their bad behavior even when their child asked them to.

And what do children hear when they call out their parents?

“I’m a more experienced driver.” (58 percent)

“Because, ‘I’m the parent.’ ” (35 percent)

“This is important.” (7 percent)

The teen driving survey — which was released Thursday — included testing for implicit associations, which was conducted Feb. 10 to 29, 2016, among 2,650 teenagers; it also included a driving survey, which was conducted April 4 to 28, 2016, among 2,500 teenagers in high schools across the country. In addition, the study surveyed 1,000 parents who have teenage drivers in high school. The margins of error ranged from 1 percent to 3.1 percent.

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