Teen drivers are often more prone to distraction than older, more experienced motorists. Studies show that other teenage passengers are also a major source of distraction for young drivers. When a teenage motorist has a teen passenger in his or her car and gets into a wreck, everyone involved in the crash is statistically more likely to die due to the presence of the teenage passenger.
According to AAA Newsroom, teen drivers were involved in more than 1 million crashes reported to authorities in 2016 alone. Those crashes resulted in more than 3,200 road deaths. Fatality rates in those crashes spiked quite a bit when the teenage driver involved in the crash also had a teenage passenger riding alongside him or her.
How teen passengers affect death rates
A teenage passenger’s presence in a crash involving a car driven by a teenager raises the risks of road fatality for everyone involved in the incident by 51%. The dangers are even more severe for those riding in or driving cars not driven by the teenage driver. These individuals face a 56%-higher chance of a fatality due to the teen passenger being there. Any pedestrians or cyclists involved in such wrecks are also 17% more likely to die because of the teen passenger’s presence in the teen driver’s vehicle.
How parents of teen drivers might help
Parents of teenagers may be able to help offset these numbers by setting rules about who their teenagers may have in their vehicles and when. Teens who garner more experience behind the wheel before riding with teen passengers may be less likely to allow young passengers to distract them.