California’s teenage drivers engage in many dangerous driving behaviors, and when they do, they endanger you and everyone else they encounter. Driving while distracted is particularly popular among teen drivers. While using a cellphone is a common form of driver distraction, having passengers present also diverts a teen driver’s attention away from the roadway.
According to AAA, teenage drivers who have teen passengers increase the risk of a fatal car wreck by 51%. When motorists 35 and older have teenage passengers in their vehicles, their crash risks increase by 8%. This raises questions about why fatality rates are so much higher for teen drivers with teen passengers.
When teenage drivers have teenage passengers riding alongside them, the dangers extend far beyond the vehicle. Research shows that teen drivers who have teen passengers increase death rates by 56% for those riding in other vehicles. They also raise fatality rates by 45% for the teenage driver, and by 17% for those navigating the same area on foot or by bike.
Why is it that teen drivers are so much more prone to driving while distracted than older motorists when they have passengers present? Some believe it comes down to experience. When they have experience, drivers learn ways to avoid or minimize the chances of a crash.
Safety advocates believe that teenagers should undergo more supervised driving to help reduce crashes among their age group. Many parents of teen drivers also set limits in terms of when their kids can drive with passengers or how many passengers they may have at a time.