When a teenage driver navigates Virginia’s roadways and has a teenage passenger riding alongside him or her in the car, the chances of a subsequent crash proving fatal increases quite a bit because of the teen passenger being there. For this reason, parents of teen drivers may want to set restrictions with regard to with whom their teens may drive. Other drivers, too, want to exercise caution when sharing the road with teen motorists.
Per AAA Newsroom, in 2016, teenage drivers found themselves involved in more than 1 million crashes that were serious enough to warrant calling authorities to the scene. There were also more than 3,200 lives lost that year in incidents involving teen motorists. A review of those crashes showed that fatality rates spiked quite a bit when teen drivers had teen passengers in their vehicles at the time of the wrecks.
How teenage passengers affect fatal crash risks
A teen passenger’s presence in a teen-driven vehicle means everyone involved in a car wreck becomes 51% more likely to die in the incident. The drivers and passengers in cars not driven by the teen driver are especially at risk. They become 56% more likely to die from crash-related injuries if the teen driver had a teen passenger in the car at the time of the wreck.
How older passengers affect fatal crash risks
Research shows that it is not having a passenger, in general, that boosts fatal crash risks, but rather, having a passenger of a particular age. Passengers who are 35 and older decrease fatal wreck risks for teen drivers by 8%.
The main reason teen passengers pose such a threat to teen drivers and others they encounter on the roadways is because they are a frequent source of distraction for teenage motorists.