California’s younger drivers lack the experience older drivers on the road have, and they may, too, find themselves more prone to distraction caused by other passengers. Passengers are a common source of distraction among teenage motorists. When the passengers riding with teen motorists are also teenagers, fatality risks increase.
According to AAA Newsroom, if a teen is driving, gets into a crash and has a teen passenger with him or her, fatality risks increase by 51% for everyone involved in the wreck.
How teen passengers affect fatality rates
Though a teen passenger being in a teen driver’s car raises fatality risks for everyone, those who are riding or driving other vehicles involved in the crash face an even higher risk. These individuals face a 56%-higher chance of dying in a teen driver-involved wreck if that teen driver has a teen passenger. Teen passengers in a teen driver’s vehicle also increase fatality risks for pedestrians and cyclists by 17%.
How older passengers affect fatality rates
Interestingly, when teenage motorists have passengers traveling with them who are 35 or older, the chances of anyone dying in a subsequent car wreck actually decrease. The older passenger’s presence cuts fatality risks by 8%. This suggests that it is the young age of the passenger, and not merely having a passenger, that increases dangers.
Parents of younger drivers may want to set limits barring their teens from driving with other young people until they gain more at-the-wheel experience. They may also want to make sure their teens gain experience driving in different scenarios, such as in inclement weather or after dark, before letting them have young passengers.