Parents may feel understandable nerves when their teens begin driving Ohio’s roadways, and it may serve them well to monitor when and with whom their teenagers drive. Studies show that teenagers are highly susceptible to driver distraction and that a frequent cause of driver distraction – and teen driver-involved car wrecks – is teenage passengers.
AAA Newsroom reports that while teenage passengers raise fatality risks for everyone involved in a crash with a teen motorist’s vehicle, those traveling in cars not driven by the teen with the teen passenger are even more at risk of dying.
How teen passengers affect fatality risks
A teenager riding in a teen driver’s vehicle at the time of a crash raises the risk of everyone riding in all vehicles in the wreck dying by 51%. Those in cars driven by someone other than the teen driver with the teen passenger face a 56% higher chance of dying due to the teen passenger being there. If there are any pedestrians or cyclists in the wreck, the presence of the teen passenger in the teenage driver’s car makes them 17% more likely to die from injuries sustained in the crash.
How older passengers affect fatality risks
Evidence shows that the passenger’s age, and not his or her sheer presence, is what raises the risks of a crash proving fatal. When passengers who are at least 35 ride alongside teenage drivers, they reduce fatality rates in car crashes by 8%.
The presence of teen passengers is one of many variables that raise the risk of a fatal car crash. Driving after dark and driving under the influence are some of the others.