Teen Drivers + Teen Passengers: A Deadly Combo on Roads, Says AAA

Supervised Training A Must for Teen Drivers

Teen drivers put everyone on the road at risk, especially when they bring teen passengers along for the ride, updated research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports.

In fact, when a teen drives their peers, the fatality rate for all people involved in a crash – the driver, passengers, occupants of other vehicles, and other roadway users like pedestrians and cyclists increases by 51% because teens are inexperienced drivers, the report said.

The newest research is part of a AAA Foundation study, “Everyone’s at Risk”, updated to mark National Teen Driver Safety Week (Oct. 21-27) next week.

“Teens simply lack experience behind the wheel,” said Ed Welsh, Regional General Manager, AAA Northeast. “This increases the odds of a deadly outcome, not just for the driver, but for the passengers and others on roads.

The study also found fatality rates of teen-driver related crashes increased when factors like speeding or night driving were introduced, she added.

According to the updated study, teen drivers were involved in more than 1 million police-reported crashes nationally, resulting in more than 3,200 deaths in 2016 and when teens carried teen passengers, fatality rates jumped by:

  • 56% for occupants of other vehicles;
  • 45% for the teen driver; and
  • 17% for pedestrians and cyclists

The AAA study pointed out, however, when older passengers (35 years or older) such as parents or older relatives accompanied a teen driver, those overall national fatality crash rates dropped 8%.

“Strong coaching and diversity in practice driving sessions are key when teens have learner’s permits,” said Welsh. “Once teens have their licenses, consistent parental involvement is essential.”

To help parents coach teen drivers, AAA offers various resources on TeenDriving.AAA.com. In addition, AAA recommends teens:

  • Log at least 100 hours of supervised practice driving with a parent or guardian before driving solo;
  • Practice driving in low-risk situations at first and gradually move to situations that are more complex such as highways, night driving, driving in the rain, and on challenging roadways;
  • Use slightly different routes each practice session; and
  • Practice driving based on three factors: visibility, on-road traffic and different road conditions.

AAA recommends parents discuss the higher risks teens face with additional passengers and become actively involved in the learn-to-drive process involving their inexperienced teen.

By martha

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