Every state has rules regarding graduated licensing for teenagers. When teens receive their drivers' licenses, there are restrictions regarding how many passengers they are allowed to have, what type of cellphone use is permitted and what time of day they can drive. Many teenagers in Baton Rouge consider the rules to be an annoyance.
In reality, laws that restrict the number of teenage passengers in the car when teens are driving can actually save their lives. According to a recent study, a teenager driver's risk of dying in a car accident increases dramatically when there are other teens in the car. Conversely, when there is an adult in the front seat, the teenage driver's risk of dying drops significantly.
The study was completed by the Automobile Association of America's Foundation for Traffic Safety, and it examined the number of teen car crashes between 2007 and 2010.
When a 16- or 17-year-old carries one passenger who is younger than 21 years (and no older passengers), the risk of death per mile increases by 44 percent. The risk is doubled when there are two passengers who are younger than 21, and it quadruples when there are three or more passengers under the age of 21.
To put that in perspective, when a teenager is driving with a passenger who is 35 years old or older, the risk of the driver dying in an accident decreases by 62 percent.
The president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety said that having teenagers as passengers can be just as distracting -- if not more distracting -- as using a cellphone while driving.
As a parent, you can help keep your teen safe by restricting the number of passengers your teen is allowed to have in the car.
Source: The Washington Post, "Study: A teenager driver's risk of dying in a crash goes up sharply with other teens in the car," The Associated Press, May 7, 2012