Teen Passengers of Teen Drivers
October 18, 2011
As teen passengers in a car with a teen driver, would you or could you ask the driver to:
- stop texting,
- stop talking on a cell phone,
- buckle up,
- not drink and drive,
- slow down, or;
- pay more attention to the road ahead?
All of these activities are dangerous yet teen passengers of a teen driver seem to be reluctant to ask the driver to drive more safely and they pay dearly as a result.
Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens and more than half of the teens killed in car crashes each year are passengers of another teen driver. A study by The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found that 60 percent of teens think inexperience heavily influences safety, but only 15 percent consider their peers to be inexperienced. Apparently, teens equate experience with the ability to pass the driving test and earn a license rather than time on the road and exposure to a variety of driving situations.
A recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, showed that teen drivers are about 50 percent more likely to crash in the first month of unsupervised driving than they are after a full year of experience driving on their own, and they are nearly twice as likely to crash in their first month as they are after two full years of experience.
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes for crashes among all age groups but it is especially high among teen drivers. Teen passengers add to the distractions and the risk of a crash increases with each additional teen passenger yet only 10 percent of teens realize that carrying teen passengers increases the risk of a crash.
Another factor leading to teen passenger deaths is that teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use and they are less likely to wear a seat belt when they are a passenger of another teen than when they are driving alone.
The website www.teendriversource.org, has produced an informational brochure called “Teach Your Teen To Be A Smart Passenger”. Parents continue to be the strongest influence in a teen’s life and, by setting strong rules for teens, both as a driver and a passenger, they can help prevent some of the dangerous situations that teens are prone to get into.