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Teen passengers, teen drivers a deadly duo

On Behalf of | Feb 24, 2023 | Car Accidents

Research shows that Florida’s teen drivers are prone to distraction, and that other young passengers are a primary source of distraction for motorists in their teens. Teenage passengers are such a significant distraction for teenage drivers that their mere presence raises the odds of a subsequent crash being fatal by quite a bit.

AAA Newsroom reports that teen drivers pose a threat to public safety under any circumstance due to their lack of behind-the-wheel experience. Yet, teen drivers with teen passengers in their cars create even more of a highway hazard, making everyone involved in a crash with a teenage driver 51% more likely to lose their lives.

The impact of teen passengers on fatal crash rates

Researchers reviewed about a million teen driver-involved car wrecks and determined that a teen passenger’s presence raised fatality risks most substantially for drivers and passengers traveling in other cars, rather than the one driven by the teen driver. Occupants of other vehicles faced a 56% higher chance of death when a teen driver had a teen passenger present at the time of the crash. A teen passenger being in a teen driver’s car also raised the risk of death for any bikers or pedestrians involved in the accident by 17%.

The impact of adult passengers on fatal crash rates

Interestingly, passengers riding in teen-driven vehicles had the opposite effect on fatality rates when they were at least 35 years old. When teen motorists carried passengers who were at least 35, the odds of anyone involved in a subsequent wreck with that teen driver dying decreased by 8%.

Because young passengers have such a substantial effect on teen driving habits, parents of teen motorists may want to think about limiting who their teens may have in their vehicles, at least during their first few years behind the wheel.