Texas residents, especially those with teenagers, may be interested in a recent study about teen drivers and car crashes. The study concluded that a teen driver is more likely to be in a car accident when other teenagers are in the car.
According to a AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study, per mile driven, a 16- or 17-year-old’s risk of being in a car crash increases by 44 percent when driving with a passenger under 21 years old. The risk doubles when the teen is carrying two passengers under 21 and quadruples when the teen is carrying three or more passengers under 21. This is all in comparison to the teen having no passengers in the car. On the other hand, the study also found that when a teenager has a passenger who is 35 years old or older, the risk of dying in an accident decreases by 62 percent.
J. Peter Kissinger, President and Chief Executive of the Foundation, stated that the goal of the report was to highlight the importance of passenger restrictions for teen drivers and the success of graduated license programs for teens. All 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have implemented graduated driver’s license programs for teens. GDL programs generally proceed from a supervised learner’s permit to an intermediate license that limits unsupervised driving and the number of passengers an inexperienced driver may have, and finally to an unrestricted license.
Lastly, the report illustrated the importance of parental involvement. While the report does not specifically state that having a parent in the car reduces a teen driver’s risk, it does state that having a passenger over 35 greatly reduces a teen’s risk of death in a car accident. This passenger can be a parent, guardian or some other influential adult in the teen’s life.
The new licensing requirements and restrictions on passengers are a good step toward reducing teen car crashes. Helping new drivers learn to drive responsibly will make Texas’ roads safer for everyone. Unfortunately, though, crashes still happen. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal options.