Joe Fitzgerald is a former Traffic Crash Reconstruction Expert and owner/operator of Southeastern Driver Training Center. Joe has been recognized as an expert witness in Traffic Crash Reconstruction, The Streets and Highways of Wilmington, NC, Impaired Driving and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing.
Recently after speaking to a group of parents and Drivers Ed students I had a parent with her 15 year old child approach me.  She started off by thanking me for the presentation and then said “I wanted to say this to him (her son) in front of you.”  She then turned to her son and apologized for not setting a good example and said from now on she is going to put her phone in the back seat when she’s driving.  I have a lot of respect for that parent for being willing to take responsibility, and understanding the importance of her roll in training a new driver.

Many parents fail to realize the fact that they are the number one influence in how their child drives.  Students attend 30 hours of classroom training and six hours of behind the wheel training in Driver Education but they spend countless hours in the car with their parents.  They watch how fast their parents drive, how they handle different driving situations and how they handle their cell phones.  While most parents don’t intend to teach their child dangerous behaviors that’s exactly what happens when parents aren’t responsible behind the wheel.

So the advice is simple; if you don’t want your child to speed, then you shouldn’t speed.  If you don’t want your child to tailgate other drivers, then you shouldn’t.  And certainly, if you don’t want your child to be on their phone when driving, then you shouldn’t.  Parents are the greatest influence on how their child drives.