Teen passengers cause increase crash risk for teen drivers

May 9th, 2012 - by DKRPA

Teenage drivers have been considered one of the most (if not the most) at-risk accident demographics on the road, and this stems from a combination of inexperience behind the wheel and the lack of understanding for how dangerous the road cane be.

Getting into a car accident is a life-changing moment for many Florida drivers. Insurance rates rise and there may be injuries, serious ones even, that need to be dealt with; but the greatest change happens at a psychological level. A driver who has been in an accident may carry the fear of the wreck for a long time, and it may make them a more defensive driver — for better or worse.

A car accident can take that from you. May it be temporarily or permanently, your freedom to drive with confidence can wane. This feeling is lost on many teenage drivers because, as they are inexperienced with driving a vehicle, they cannot fully understand how harrowing it is to be in an accident.

Some new research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety may open the eyes of many teenage drivers. It certainly will for their parents.

According to their study, drivers who are 16 or 17 years old are 44% more likely to suffer fatal injuries in a car accident when they have a lone passenger under the age of 21 as compared to a 16- or 17-year-old driver with no such passengers. When carrying two under-21 passengers, that same driver is twice as likely to die in a car accident. The fatality rate increases four times if there are three under-21 passengers.

At the same time, if a driver aged 16 or 17 has a person aged 35 or older in the car, their fatal accident rate drops a staggering 62%, according to the study.

Obviously there is a “rush of blood” factor that goes into a teenager driver having his or her friends — of similar age — in the car. Maybe they are trying to impress their passengers with fast or risky driving; maybe they are just distracted by chatting with their friends that the responsibility of driving with care is ignored.

No matter the case, distracted driving can be fatal. Hopefully this report helps teenagers understand the potential dangers of the road and it empowers parents to speak with their kids about safe driving habits.

Source: The Car Connection, “Teen Drivers More At Risk With Other Teens In The Car,” Suzanne Kane, May 8, 2012