The new research, released as part of Teen Driver Safety Week (Oct. 14-20), shows that the prevalence of risky behavior generally grew for 16 and 17-year-old drivers as the number of teen passengers increased. Among 16 and 17-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes:
The prevalence of speeding increased from 30 percent to 44 percent and 48 percent with zero, two and three or more teen passengers, respectively.
The prevalence of late-night driving (11 p.m. to 5 a.m.) increased from 17 percent to 22 percent and 28 percent with zero, two and three or more teen passengers, respectively.
The prevalence of alcohol use increased from 13 percent to 17 percent and 18 percent with zero, two and three or more teen passengers, respectively.
“Mixing young drivers with teen passengers can have dangerous consequences,” said AAA Utah spokesperson Rolayne Fairclough. “AAA urges parents to set and consistently enforce family rules that limit newly licensed teens from driving with young passengers.”
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, data analysis on fatal crashes that occurred nationwide from 2005 and 2010 shows that 9,578 drivers age 16 and 17 were involved in fatal crashes, and that 3,994 of these crashes included at least one teen passenger. This study also shows how risk of death in a traffic crash for 16 and 17-year-old drivers increases by 44 percent when carrying one passenger younger than 21, doubles with two, and quadruples with three or more younger passengers, compared to driving alone.
Teen drivers face a number of safety challenges including:
Teenage drivers are involved in more crashes per mile than drivers of any other age group.
Drivers aged 16 and 17 are involved in about seven times as many crashes per mile driven compared to drivers in their forties, fifties, or sixties.
Teenage drivers are overrepresented in crashes that result in the death of other people, such as passengers, pedestrians, or occupants of other vehicles.
AAA recommends that all states adopt and enforce a comprehensive three-stage graduated licensing system for beginning drivers--learner’s permit, intermediate/probationary license, full/unrestricted license. These programs should limit driving at night, and driving with young passengers, among other provisions designed to help novice drivers gain skills and experience associated with responsible driving.