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Who Rules The Road ....Moms, Dads Or Teens?

Teens see faults with their parents' driving, but majority of parents say their teens are good drivers: RBC Insurance Poll

RBC Insurance Poll: Who rules the road ....moms, dads or teens?

TORONTO, December 11, 2012 - Although confident in their driving abilities, many Canadian parents still have serious concerns when their teens get behind the wheel. According to a recent RBC Insurance survey, nine-in-10 parents rate their teens as fairly good drivers, despite the fact that 79 per cent admit their teenagers engage in some form of driver distraction.

"It's great to see that Canadian parents have confidence in their teens' driving abilities," said Natalie Dupuis, senior product manager, Auto, RBC Insurance. "With the winter driving season upon us, accidents are much more prevalent and it's critical that everyone, especially new drivers who have less experience, keep their full attention on the road."

Parents polled by RBC Insurance say that their teen's biggest driving distraction is the radio or music (25 per cent), followed by having friends in the car (21 per cent) and talking to passengers (14 per cent). Five per cent admit their teen is distracted by texting and two per cent say their children are making phone calls while driving.

Ruling the road: Moms versus Dads
When it comes to teens' perception of their parents' driving habits, almost half (47 per cent) rate their father as an extremely good driver, whereas only 29 per cent would give their mother this credit. This, despite the fact that almost four-in-10 (38 per cent) say that the most common fault with their dad's driving is speeding or driving too aggressively. In comparison, only six per cent say their mom's most common fault is driving too aggressively and 11 per cent say it's speeding. In fact, 16 per cent believe their moms drive too slowly and don't know their directions when driving.

However, teaching a teen to drive may improve the parent's driving habits - 84 per cent of parents agree that teaching their teen to drive has gotten them thinking about their own driving habits. The study also found that formal driving lessons are becoming less prevalent, as 35 per cent of parents say they learned from an instructor only, compared to 16 per cent of the teens interviewed.

Surprisingly, parents say that the most common fault with their teens' driving is not knowing their route/direction (20 per cent), while being distracted was a close second at 15 per cent. Other common faults parents mentioned include:

  • being too aggressive (12 per cent)
  • speeding (12 per cent)
  • not knowing the rules of the road (9 per cent)
  • driving too slowly (8 per cent)

Although 15 per cent of teens admit to having had at least one accident, the survey found generally good driving behaviour among this segment of the population. The majority of teens, both young men and women, claim they have not had any parking tickets (90 per cent), speeding tickets (92 per cent) and/or accidents (85 per cent).

Based on these findings, what should parents consider when seeking car insurance for their teen? RBC Insurance offers these tips:

  • Send your kids to driving school.
    New drivers will learn valuable driving skills and defensive driving techniques that will keep them safe and focused on the road. Also, many insurers, including RBC Insurance, will credit new drivers with three years of driving experience if they have completed a certified driver's education course approved by the Ministry of Transportation.
  • Ask about a "student away from home' discount.
    Many young drivers don't drive frequently and occasional drivers have lower premiums. RBC insurance offers up to 50 per cent on premiums for families whose children are away at school and drive the family car only occasionally.
  • Use your flexibility with deductibles and features.
    By increasing deductibles, you can lower your premium. Adding a feature such as an accident forgiveness component lets drivers cancel out their first accident, meaning the premium won't increase.

About the RBC Insurance Poll
The RBC Insurance Poll was conducted by Ipsos Reid from August 17-28, 2012. Online interviews were conducted via the Ipsos I-Say Online Panel, Ipsos Reid's national online panel with a sample of 1,001 Canadian parents of teenagers and 1000 teenagers. The results are based on a sample where quota sampling and weighting are employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to Census data. Quota samples with weighting from the Ipsos online panel provide results that are intended to approximate a probability sample. An unweighted, probability sample of 1,001, with 100 per cent response rate would have an estimated margin of error of ±3 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

About RBC Insurance
RBC Insurance®, through its operating entities, provides a wide range of travel, life, health, home, auto, wealth and reinsurance products and solutions, as well as creditor and business insurance services, to individual and group clients. RBC Insurance has more than four million clients globally. We are one of the largest Canadian bank-owned group of insurance companies and among the fastest growing insurance organizations in the country. RBC Insurance employs more than 3,200 employees around the globe, and is the brand name for the insurance operating entities of Royal Bank of Canada.

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For more information, please contact:
Margie McNeil,
RBC Insurance, 416 388-3697

Angela Harkey,
RBC Insurance, 905 816-5650