Virginia’s teenage drivers do not have the same degree of experience as older motorists, making car wrecks more common among members of this demographic. While many of today’s teen drivers engage in dangerous behind-the-wheel behaviors, such as using their phones while driving, research shows that who they have in their cars may also contribute to crash risks.
Per TeenDriverSource.org, while having even one teenage passenger present raises crash risks for teen motorists, the risks compound with each additional teenager riding in the car.
Why teen passengers raise crash risks for teen drivers
The main reason having other teenagers present in the car is dangerous for a teenage driver is that teen passengers often serve as distractions for teen drivers. Research shows that 56% of teenage passengers who die in car wrecks were riding alongside a teen driver at the time of their deaths.
While research shows that crash risks double when a teen driver has a teen passenger, it also shows that they triple when a teen motorist has two or more passengers present in the car.
What parents might do to enhance safety
Safety advocates recommend that parents of new drivers limit who their teenagers may have in their vehicles until they garner more driving experience. Parents may also want to encourage their children to be responsible passengers when riding in their friends’ vehicles, reminding their children of the potential risks involved in distracting a teen driver.
Some states are also taking action to reduce teen-involved car wrecks by setting statewide restrictions with regard to when new drivers may have passengers.