"My Son Is Reliable": Young Drivers' Parents' Optimism and Views on the Norms of Parental Involvement in Youth Driving

Nurit Guttman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The high crash rates among teenage drivers are of great concern across nations. Parents' involvement is known to help increase their young drivers' driving safety. In particular, parents can place restrictions on their son's/daughter's driving (e.g., restrict night time driving), which can enable the young driver to gain driving experience in safer conditions. Yet little is known about what do parents think about parental responsibility regarding young drivers' driving. This study aimed to address this question. It draws on both quantitative and qualitative data obtained through a phone survey of 906 Israeli parents of young drivers that included both open- and closed-ended items and 20 semistructured interviews with parents. The main findings were that parents tended to be optimistic about their own child's driving compared with other young drivers and were relatively unconcerned about speeding. Whereas most parents thought restrictions regarding driving at night or talking on the phone should be placed on young drivers, most believed many parents do not enforce them. Most also believed many parents feel they are unable to influence young drivers' driving. The exception, however, was they believed most parents restrict young drivers driving when they are tired. Two contrasting conceptions of parental responsibility were identified and presented as a model. Potential implications for road safety campaigns from a social norms perspective are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-268
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Adolescent Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2013


FundersFunder number
Or Yarok Association for Safer Driving


    • automobile driving
    • conceptions of adulthood
    • emerging adult hood
    • family relationships
    • parenting


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