Driving under the influence of parents

Article date: 8 March 2010

  • Aviva calls on parents to take more responsibility for teenage drivers

Aviva research reveals that younger drivers are 17% more likely to pass their driving test the first time if they have had additional practice with their parents, conversely, one in two young drivers who only had paid driving lessons took more than four attempts to pass their test1.

Research also reveals that over a quarter of young drivers who did not practice driving with their parents had an accident that required an insurance claim within the first year of passing their driving test.

With young drivers accounting for more than two in five road deaths in the UK2, Aviva has launched "The Road to Success", a new online guide which calls on parents to get involved with teaching their children to drive. 

Nigel Bartram, Aviva motoring expert said: “We appreciate that learning to drive can be a very stressful time for young drivers and parents alike.  That’s why we have produced a free guide for parents to download so they can get useful tips and advice on how best to go about preparing their children for the open road. 

“Our research shows that young drivers who gain valuable experience behind the wheel under the guidance of their parents are much more likely to pass their driving test first time around than those who only take paid for driving lessons.

“The more experience young drivers can accrue behind the wheel the better drivers they will be, especially if they are practising driving at night and driving in different weather conditions.”

Although parents are uniquely positioned to pass on advice to their children to help better prepare them for driving, they must also be mindful that through their actions, they are also the most likely source for young drivers to pick up bad habits from.

The worst habits that children pick up from their parents include:

  • Looking over your shoulder to check for cars rather than using your mirror (19%)
  • Incorrect hand positions on the steering wheel (33%)
  • Coasting around corners (in manual cars) (9%)
  • Driving with only one hand on the wheel (32%)
  • Undertaking (4%)
  • Being abusive to other road users (16%).

Nigel continues: “Your behaviour, judgment and skills behind the wheel will have a huge influence on your teenager and it is essential that they witness you taking driving seriously. Whilst you are driving your car, as passengers, they are learning from the way you act, the decisions you make and the style in which you drive, so it’s important to set a good example at all times.”

In response to these findings, the "Road to Success" guide also offers advice to parents on how to ensure their teenager is ready for the demands of the road.

The Aviva "Road to Success" Parents Guide is available at www.aviva.co.uk/motor-insurance/guidance (Link removed as not active)


1 Research commissioned by Aviva with 500, 17-21 year old drivers, October 2009
Department for Transport, Killed or Seriously Injured statistics, 2008

For further information, please contact:

Adam Cracknell
Aviva’s UK Insurance press office 
Telephone: 01603 684916

Nick Woods
Hill & Knowlton 
Telephone: 020 7413 3515

Notes to editors:

About Aviva
Aviva is the world’s fifth largest* insurance group, serving 53 million customers across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific.

Aviva's main business activities are long-term savings, fund management and general insurance, with worldwide total sales of £45.1 billion and funds under management of £379 billion at 31 December 2009.  

We are the largest insurance services provider in the UK and one of the leading providers of life and pensions products in Europe.   

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*based on gross worldwide premiums at 31 December 2008

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