Experience goes a long way in terms of helping motorists stay safe on Minnesota’s roadways. Yet, teenage drivers lack the driving experience that older motorists have. This means teen drivers face an elevated chance of involvement in a car crash. Studies also show that other factors, such as teen drivers having teen passengers in their vehicles, raise the risk of a subsequent crash proving fatal.
Per AAA Newsroom, the mere presence of a teenage passenger in a teen driver’s car raises fatality risks for everyone involved in a crash with that teen driver.
How teen passengers impact crash risks
When a teen driver crashes and has a teen passenger in the vehicle, everyone involved in the wreck, regardless of vehicle, faces a 51% higher chance of dying in the crash because of the teenage passenger’s presence. Occupants of vehicles not driven by a teenager are even more at risk. These drivers and passengers face a 56% higher chance of dying because of the teen passenger’s presence in the other driver’s vehicle.
Why teen drivers impact crash risks
Teen drivers are often susceptible to distraction, and teenage passengers are a common source of driver distraction. Research suggests that teen drivers are also more prone to risk-taking and speeding when they have teen passengers in their cars than they are when they are driving alone or with older passengers in the car.
It is not the mere presence of a passenger that raises fatal crash risks, but rather, the presence of the young passenger. When teen drivers have passengers who are 35 or older in their cars, the risk of a fatal crash actually decreases.