Washington’s teen drivers do not have the behind-the-wheel experience that older motorists have, and this means they may be less likely to know what to do in certain situations to avoid a wreck. Teen drivers are also highly susceptible to distraction, and often, the main source of their distraction is other young people riding in their cars.
According to AAA Newsroom, teenage passengers are among the top causes of distraction for teenage motorists. When a teen driver has a teen riding in the car and gets into a crash, the crash is more likely to prove fatal due to the teen passenger being there.
How teenage passengers affect fatal crash risks
A teenage passenger riding in a teen driver’s car at the time of a wreck makes everyone involved in the wreck, regardless of vehicle, 51% more likely to die. The teen driver also becomes 45% more likely to die, while those traveling in cars not driven by the teen become 56% more likely to die because of the teenage passenger’s presence. If any pedestrians or cyclists are in a car crash, they become 17% more likely to die if the teen driver has a teen passenger there.
How passengers 35 and older affect fatal crash risks
Studies show that it is not the mere presence of a passenger that makes a crash more likely to be fatal. When teen motorists have passengers riding in their cars who are at least 35, the chances of a fatal crash taking place decreases by about 8%.
While teen passengers play a role in how likely a crash is to prove fatal, other variables, such as the time of day and the weather conditions, also factor in.