A new study from the University of Michigan show that not only do teenagers tend to follow their parents’ lead with regards to dangerous in-car driving habits, they also tend to magnify their perception of their parents habits. This leaves them between two and five times more likely to practice bad distracted driving techniques as their parents actually do.

“Overall, teens think that their parents engage in distracted driving behaviors more often than may be the case, which may allow them to justify certain high-risk behaviors behind the wheel, said Ray Bingham, one of the University of Michigan’s professors leading the study.
The study also showed the reverse was true. Often times, parents greatly underestimated how often their teenagers were engaging in dangerous driving behavior.

Tina Sawyer, the principle engineer of Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center, the group that sponsored the survey, summed up the results by saying, “…the one piece of advice I would give to parents to help them keep their newly licensed driver safe on the road is to always be the driver you want your teen to be.”