A Deadly Combination: Teen Driver and Teen Passenger in Vehicle Increases Risk of Death in a Crash by 51 Percent for Everyone Involved

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. Add teen passengers to the mix, and the risk of an accident goes up even more. A recent study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety showed that the combination of a teen passenger being in the car alone with a teen driver increased the risk of a fatality by over 50 percent.

The study showed that teen drivers were involved in more than one million police-reported accidents in 2016, resulting in 3,200 fatalities. According to AAA’s research, when teen drivers are in the car with teen passengers, if they are involved in a car accident, the risk of fatalities goes up 51 percent.

Alternatively, when the passengers traveling with the teen driver are older than 35 years old, the risk of a fatality goes down by eight percent. When the teen drivers were traveling with teen passengers, fatality rates went up by 56 percent for individuals in the other cars involved, 45 percent for the teen driver, and 17 percent for any pedestrians or cyclists involved.

It is recommended that the parents of teen drivers enforce strict rules when it comes to their teen’s driving privileges, particularly when it comes to having other teens in the vehicle.

Here are some additional safe driving tips for teens:

  1. Buckle Up. Always wear a seatbelt. As a parent, it is important that you lead by example. Seatbelts are not only the law in Florida, but they can save your life. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 15,000 lives are saved each year in the United States because drivers and their passengers were wearing seat belts when they were in a car accident.
  2. Practice makes perfect. Ensure that your teen meets the standard 100 hours of supervised driving with a parent recommended by AAA, before they can drive on their own. These supervised driving sessions need to include ‘low-risk’ situations along with more difficult driving situations such as on the interstate, in rain or inclement weather conditions. Effectively correcting mistakes on the road while in your presence can help your teen avoid them in the future when you are not right beside them.
  3. No teen passengers. Parents should restrict who rides in the car with their teen driver during the first six months of driving- and beyond, if necessary. Teen passengers present a distraction to the teen driver but also can be tempting for the driver to show off or be less careful than they would have been otherwise.
  4. No cell phone use behind the wheel. Cell phones are a well-known distraction and have led to countless accidents and fatalities. Tell your teen to keep his or her phone off while driving. Never ever text and drive. Texting is shown to cause the driver to lose focus on the road for up to 4.6 seconds. Even texting while stopped at a stoplight or while in traffic is a bad idea. If the teen needs to make a call, make sure he or she knows to pull over safely, make the call or send the text and then put the phone to an area where it cannot be reached before getting back on the road.
  5. Drive distraction free. Texting and talking on a cell phone are not the only driving distractions. Other distractions include, eating or drinking a beverage while driving, adjusting the radio or GPS device, reading, tending to children and other passengers in the vehicle, etc.
  6. Defensive driving. Lastly, it helps for the teen to practice what is known as defensive driving. This technique trains the teen driver to be aware of traffic all around him or her, including traffic ahead, behind and next to him or her. Keep the car at least one car length behind the vehicle traveling in front of you, and make sure that this buffer zone is even larger if traveling at a faster speed. Look out for hazards around you, as well as pedestrians or cyclist who may also be sharing the road. It also goes without saying but always keep your eyes on the road. Even a small, brief distraction in the car can take your eyes off the road for just a second, leading to an accident.

The Benenati Law Firm has recovered millions of dollars for its injury clients and accident victims. In Orlando and throughout Central Florida victims injured in accidents or through negligence need only hit the 7s to reach the personal injury offices of the Benenati Law Firm. Our oath to you is handling your case from start to finish effectively, competently, and aggressively. Allow us the opportunity to give you the personal attention you deserve in your case. You pay us nothing unless we win your case. Please do not hesitate to call our office today at 407-777-7777 for a free legal consultation.
Abogado Hispano con experiencia en juicios sirviendo las necesidades legales de la comunidad de la Florida.