Published on May 11, 2012 by Edgar Snyder

Additional Passengers Greatly Increase the Likelihood of Fatal Teen Car Accidents

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For many teenagers, getting their license is an exciting time. It gives them more freedom and more time to spend with their friends. However, it's important for both teens and parents to know how dangerous and distracting teenage passengers can be to teen drivers.

Numerous studies in the past have shown that young passengers increase the chance of teenagers being involved in fatal car accidents. A recent study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety sheds new light on just how big that increase is.

Using crash data from 2007 - 2010, it found that the likelihood of a 16- or 17-year-old driver being killed in car accident:

  • increases 44 percent when carrying one passenger younger than 21.
  • doubles when carrying two passengers younger than 21.
  • quadruples when carrying three or more passengers younger than 21.

On the other hand, the study revealed that when teens carry a passenger who is over the age of 35, their risk of a fatal car accident dropped by 62 percent.

In Pennsylvania, a teen driver bill enacted last year prohibits teens with a junior license from carrying more than one passenger under age 18 at a time. If they remain accident-free for six months, they are allowed to carry up to three passengers.

"Teenage Driver Study Reconfirms Link Between Young Passengers and Chances of a Fatal Crash." The New York Times. May 8, 2012.
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