According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk of a fatal crash for drivers who are between the ages of 16 and 19 is three times higher than the risk that older motorists face. The agency also reports that the most common cause of death for teens in that age group is a motor vehicle accident.
Though there are many factors that play a role in this phenomenon, a leading reason is that teen drivers may be more susceptible to distractions. Those can range from cellphone use to grooming to eating while behind the wheel.
An alarming study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety indicates that having teen passengers on board is also an issue. Researchers compared 16- and 17-year-old drivers without passengers to those with passengers and found the following:
- Those with one passenger under the age of 20 had a 44 percent increased risk of dying in an accident
- Those with two passengers younger than 20 had double the risk of dying in an accident
- Those with three or more passengers younger than 20 had quadruple the risk of dying in an accident
In each of the above scenarios, there was no older passenger present in the vehicle. When a passenger who is 35 or older is in the car, however, the risk of a fatal accident actually decreases by as much as 62 percent.
This study emphasizes the importance of teaching young drivers safe practices and supervising their activity. Doing so can prevent a tragedy from occurring.