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What factors impact the safety of teens driving?

When a teen gets behind the wheel with his or her license the first time, it's an exciting adventure. There are some hazards they face, though, that are more significant as teens than as adult drivers.

Did you know that having more than two peer passengers in a vehicle increases the likelihood of a collision and fatality by over three times? Additionally, while you may think that the risk is tied to the types of behaviors teens have in their vehicles, the truth is that it doesn't matter as much what type of passengers are in the vehicles as much as it matters that there are passengers that are the same age as the driver. Teen drivers with friends in their vehicles are more likely to engage in risky behavior, which means they're more likely to put themselves and others at risk of a crash.

There are a number of risk factors for teen drivers that aren't talked about enough with teens. For example, nighttime driving has its own risks, but many teens don't get the practice or education needed on this kind of driving. It's also important to talk about how passengers can affect a teen's driving behaviors, so a teen can make good decisions about who to drive with and when having a passenger won't be distracting.

Both male and female teen drivers are more likely to be distracted with others in the vehicle. This isn't an issue that affects only men or women. For that reason, you should talk to your sons and daughters about the risks of driving before they ever get behind the wheel. If they are struck as a result of other teens' behaviors or the poor driving of a friend, you may have a case.

Source: Teen Driver Source, "Passengers as Deadly Distractions - Peers and Older Teen Passengers," accessed Aug. 09, 2017

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