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Risky behavior for teen drivers increases with more teen passengers: study

October 24, 2012

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Washington – Unsafe driving behaviors among teen drivers may increase with each additional teen passenger, according to a new study (.pdf file) of fatal motor vehicle crashes from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Researchers studied fatal crashes between 2005 and 2010 involving 16- and 17-year-old drivers. Fifty-seven percent of the drivers in those crashes had at least one teen passenger. Among the findings:

  • Speeding was involved in 30 percent of fatal crashes with zero teen passengers, 44 percent of crashes with two teen passengers, and 48 percent with three or more teen passengers.
  • Driving later than 11 p.m. was a factor in 17 percent of crashes with zero teen passengers, 22 percent with two teen passengers, and 28 percent with three or more teen passengers.
  • Having a blood-alcohol content of .01 or higher was seen among 13 percent of crashes with zero teen passengers, 17 percent with two teen passengers, and 18 percent with three or more teen passengers.

AAA recommended that states adopt and enforce comprehensive three-stage Graduated Driver Licensing systems for new drivers that include limits on driving with young passengers and nighttime driving.

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