Study Shows Teen Drivers Face Higher Fatality Risks

Teen drivers are more likely to get in a fatal accident if other teens are in the car — according to a new driving study released today. The study shows the risk of fatalities increases for every additional teen in the vehicle.

The study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows a strong correlation between the number of teens in a vehicle and the risk of a fatal traffic accident.

Doug Shupe with AAA Texas says they looked at crash data from 16 and 17 year old drivers.

“What this study found was that the likelihood of a 16 or 17-year-old driver being killed in a crash, per mile driven, increases with each additional young passenger that’s in the vehicle.”

So with one other young passenger, the risk of a fatal crash goes up by 44 percent. The risk doubles with two passengers and quadruples when three or more passengers are in the car.

“This time of year is especially important to talk with teens about this study, but also about driving safely in general. As summer approaches, many teens will be out of school and they could end up riding around with other teens who are not as experienced behind the wheel.”

Although teens are at greater risk when driving with other teens, the study shows the risk of a fatality decreases by 62 percent if an adult over the age of 35 is in the vehicle. Shupe says parents should spend more time as a passenger in the car and help their teen gain good driving experience.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

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