Michelin releases survey about impact of COVID-19 on driver education

© Michelin

A newly released survey of parents of U.S. teens conducted by Michelin North America and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reveals that 62% say their child has experienced a COVID-19 related disruption in driver education/licensing, but 35% don’t have a backup plan for replacing lost learning.

Motor vehicle crashes remain the No. 1 killer of teens in America, and according to analysis by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nearly 300,000 crashes involving young, inexperienced drivers are related to tire issues like worn treads and over- or under-inflation.

“Michelin is committed to helping parents and teens prepare for the road in the safest way possible,” said Joanie Martin, chief administrative officer for Michelin North America, Inc. “Teaching a teen to drive is a key experience for almost every parent, so when we learned parents were facing added pressure due to the pandemic, we took action to help them fill the gap.”

The survey polled parents of 15- to 17-year-old drivers who have a driver’s license, learner’s permit and/or were learning how to drive. Additional data underscores the need to equip parents with the tools to help their teens during a time that formal driving programs may not be widely available due to the pandemic.

  • More than half of parents (61%) have become more concerned about their teen’s safe driving skills during the pandemic, and about 9 in 10 (88%) worry their teen may be engaging in unsafe driving behaviors.
  • Parents in urban areas are particularly anxious: 82% of urban parents say they’ve become more concerned about their teen’s safe driving skills since the pandemic began compared to 50% of suburban and rural parents.
  • Further, 65% of parents in urban areas say their teens have faced pandemic-related delays in driver education/licensing versus 54% of suburban parents and 42% of rural parents.

“Parents are their teens’ No. 1 driving teacher and coach, but they often don’t recognize this or seek additional support,” said Pam Shadel Fischer, teen driving safety expert with GHSA. “As a parent, it’s important to ensure your teen is driving a safe vehicle, that you are knowledgeable about your state’s teen licensing requirements and the rules of the road, and that you seek out resources to help you help your teen driver build skills. This is critical as technology, licensing and driving laws and best practices continue to evolve.”

Before beginning behind-the-wheel training, teens need to understand the basics of routine vehicle maintenance. With extra time at home the past several months, 63% of parents are taking advantage of this opportunity to teach their teens about car maintenance. However, they are missing one of the most crucial safety components of their vehicles—tires. More than half (52%) of parents have not taught their teen how to check tire tread depth, while 35% have not taught their teen how to check air pressure.

“Parents are inundated with new and changing responsibilities as a result of the pandemic. While many things are out of their control, these simple steps performed monthly can help keep their teens safe and that’s checking their tires’ air pressure and tread depth,” Martin said.

This survey and resource guide are a part of Michelin’s larger safety initiative, Beyond the Driving Test, which was first introduced in 2014 in partnership with Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). Through its corporate social responsibility program, Michelin offers life-saving tips to parents and teens and ensures each state provides consistent information about tire safety in new-driver training materials.

© Michelin

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