A new Nation Poll has found that as teenagers move out of their homes for college to live by themselves in new cities, they start using ride-sharing services, which increases the safety concerns for several parents.
According to a National Poll, 1/3 parents have said that their 18-year-old, either alone or with a friend, has been on a ride-sharing service. Top concerns of parents include the threat of sexual assault by the driver and also driving safety issues.
“Ride sharing services are increasingly used as a convenient way to get around for adults and may potentially also be an attractive option for teens with busy schedules and social lives,” said the co-director of the poll, Gary Freed.
“Company policies prohibit minors from riding without an adult, but these rules can be difficult to enforce and it may be challenging to verify a rider’s age.”
“Sometimes parents and teens may find themselves in a bind for transportation and look for ways around the rules,” added Freed.
Parents’ top concerns included unsafe driving by the drivers, over speeding, the drivers’ distraction by a phone, him being drunk, or their child not wearing the seat belt. Some parents were also worried that the drivers might try to sexually assault their teenagers.
In some communities, a “kid-friendly” service for ride-sharing has also been set up.
“If teens do use a ride share service, families should discuss practical and important strategies to stay safe,” advised Freed.
“Before teens use any ride sharing service, parents should discuss the potential dangers and develop a strategy with their teen,” said Freed.
“Teens may feel awkward or inhibited to speak up if they notice a driver is not driving safely or if something does ‘not feel right’ about the car or the driver. Parents should empower their teens to feel comfortable to speak out or refuse a ride. They should be reminded that they are getting into a vehicle with someone they do not know and that it is essential for them be especially attentive to anything that may risk their safety.”