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Study: Adding Young Passengers Increases a Teen Driver’s Crash Risk

By Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. on June 6, 2012

The risk of a 16- or 17-year-old driver suffering a car accident increases with each passenger under age 20 that the driver transports in his or her vehicle, according to a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

The study examined accidents in which a young driver had no passengers, one or more passengers under age 20, and one passenger 35 or older. Compared to having zero passengers, 16- or 17-year-olds behind the wheel had a 44% increased chance of crashing if they had one passenger under 20.

The risk continued to climb as young passengers were added. With two passengers, the driver’s chances of an accident were double what they were with no passengers. When a third passenger under age 20 was added, the teen driver’s risk of a crash was four times higher than if the teen had had zero passengers.

Meanwhile, having one passenger over age 35 actually decreased a teen’s crash risk by 46% and decreased the risk of a fatal crash by 62%, compared to having zero passengers.

These results suggest that it’s wise to restrict the number of young passengers a teenager may transport during the first crucial years of driving experience to prevent a teen driver accident. It’s also a good idea to ride with your teen even after he or she has a license to help provide additional instruction and experience.

Young drivers often lack the experience to protect themselves from the carelessness of other drivers. If your teen has been injured in a car accident, an experienced Seattle traffic accident attorney at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. can help you find out what happened and hold any negligent parties accountable for their actions. For a free, confidential phone consultation, call us today at (888) 228-3860.

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