A study released this week by the AAA’s safety foundation shows that teens driving with their friends in the car is much riskier than driving alone or with an adult. This study is one of the first that has been done since changes were made in driving laws in many states, which began in the mid-1990s. Many states now restrict teens from driving with passengers under the age of 21 and prevent driving at night.
The study was based on teen crashes that occurred between 2007 and 2010. The study found that a 16 or 17 year old’s risk of death when carrying one passenger younger than 21, and no adults, increased 44 percent when compared with driving alone. The risk is double that when carrying two passengers under the age of 21, and quadruples when carrying three or more young passengers. However, the risk of a teen driver dying in an accident when driving with a passenger aged 35 or older decreases by 62 percent.
The good news is between 2000 and 2010, the number of 16 and 17 year olds involved in fatal crashes fell by more than half each year. Much of the credit for those declines is attributed to graduated licensing laws, more seat belt use, less drunk driving and better car safety equipment. Among those young teen drivers who were killed between 2000 and 2010, 40 percent had at least one passenger under the age of 21 and no older adult passengers.
This new study shows just how distracting young passengers can be to teen drivers. If you have a young driver in your family, consider what rules you want to put into place about driving with other young passengers or alone – that can make a huge impact on the odds of a crash occurring.
Have you been involved in an accident that was caused by a teen driver? If so, you could have a cause of action against that teen. Call the Dallas car accident attorneys at The Barber Law Firm at 866-986-1529 to learn more.