Teen drivers across Indiana and the rest of the nation lack the experience that older drivers have. Many teen motorists also engage in dangerous driving behaviors that endanger everyone they come across. Research shows that another factor – the presence of a teenage passenger – also heightens risks for teen drivers and that a teen passenger’s presence in a teenage driver’s vehicle raises fatality risks for everyone involved in a crash with a teen driver.

Per AAA Newsroom, teen passengers are a frequent source of distraction for teenage drivers. When a teenage motorist crashes and has a teenage passenger in the car, everyone involved in the wreck is 51% more likely to die because of the teen passenger being there.

How teenage passengers affect crash risks

Those traveling in cars not driven by teenage drivers are those most at risk by the presence of a teenage passenger in a teen driver’s vehicle. Drivers and passengers traveling in other cars are 56% more likely to lose their lives in crashes with teenage drivers if those drivers have teens in the passenger seats.

How older passengers affect crash risks

When teenage drivers have passengers in their cars who are at least 35, having the passenger there actually decreased fatal crash risks. The older passenger’s presence reduces fatality risks for everyone involved in a crash with a teen driver by 8%.

Each year, teen drivers are responsible for more than a million reported crashes and thousands of road deaths. While having teenage passengers raises risks, so, too, do other dangerous driving behaviors that are common among this age group, including speeding or drinking and driving.