Teen drivers pose greater risk without adult passengers

New drivers may worry others on the road in California as teens rarely have a reputation for safe driving. Only some of that is due to recklessness, however. Teens are less experienced drivers who have had relatively little time on the road and may not be skilled at responding to quick-moving situations or emergencies. This is reflected in the findings of recent research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, which was released in time for National Teen Driver Safety Week.

According to the study, teen drivers whose only passengers are other teens are likelier to be involved in fatal crashes. The fatality rate for all people involved in such an accident rose by 51 percent. On the other hand, when at least one person age 35 or older accompanied a teen driver, the fatality rates declined by 8 percent. In 2016, there were over 1 million car accidents across the country involving teen drivers, and they led to over 3,200 fatalities. In fact, people in other vehicles were actually more likely to die in an accident involving teen drivers.

Fatality rates rose 56 percent for the inhabitants of other vehicles involved in a crash with a teen driver and teen passengers. They rose 17 percent for cyclists and pedestrians, and teen drivers themselves were also 45 percent more likely to die. Other factors also contributed to higher fatality rates, including speeding or driving at night. The researchers urged a greater number of supervised driving hours for teen drivers, especially those who are new to being behind the wheel.

Drivers of any age can cause serious injuries, however. A drunk, distracted or drowsy driver can take lives or cause lifelong disabilities. People who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents by someone else’s negligent driving can work with a personal injury lawyer to seek compensation for their damages.