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AAA Study Reports Teen Drivers Are Distracted by Their Passengers

Published May 15, 2012 by Scott Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney

State and federal agencies have been focusing on improving teenage drivers’ safety records by conducting campaigns to educate them of the dangers of distracted driving and drinking and driving. Most recently we highlighted a NY school that invited a survivor of a distracted driving accident to encourage teens to put down their cell phones. Now, a new AAA study reports that teen drivers with teenage passengers in their cars are significantly more likely to crash than teens without passengers.

According to the report, “Teen Driver Risk in Relation to Age and Number of Passengers,” teens who were driving with one passenger who was under 21-years-old increased the risk of being involved in a fatal accident by 44 percent. When there were two passengers under 21-years-old the risk doubled. Three or more passengers under 21 quadrupled the risk. In contrast, having at least one passenger aged 35 or older in the vehicle was associated with a 62% decrease in a 16- or 17-year-old driver’s risk of being killed in a crash and a 46% decrease in the risk of being involved in any police reported crash.

Our Binghamton car accident attorneys urge parents and other adults to model safe driving behaviors for their teens by staying focused while driving. Heated or animated conversations with passengers can lead to distractions as much as cellphone use can. We also ask that parents and adults enforce the NY laws with their teens.

According to, 156 people were killed in NY car crashes involving teenaged drivers in 2010. In the last 10 years, 1,010 have died at the hands of teen drivers. Nationwide, 85,000 people have been killed in teen driving crashes.

The New York graduated driver licensing program limits the number of passengers in a teen’s vehicle. The program prohibits more than one passenger younger than age 21 unless a parent or guardian is in the vehicle. In addition, the program prohibits unsupervised nighttime driving between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.

“The connection between carrying young passengers and increased fatal crash risk is clear, and placing appropriate limits is a key part of graduated driver licensing,” said Beth Mosher, director of public affairs for AAA Chicago in the AAA press release. “By limiting the number of passengers that 16- and 17-year-old drivers can have in the car, these policies help ensure that teens stay focused on the road and gain the experience they need to become safe drivers.”

The National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) just announced the start of Global Youth Traffic Safety Month to be run throughout May. With a focus on a safe summer, the campaign is “targeting young drivers to commit to the safest summer ever to put an end to motor vehicle crashes.”

“Summer is the deadliest time of year on the roads for teens,” said Sandy Spavone, Executive Director of NOYS, pointing to NHTSA data that an average of 422 teens die in traffic crashes during each of the summer months as compared to a monthly average of 363 teen deaths during the non-summer months.

Our Binghamton personal injury attorneys encourage teens to heed the warnings from AAA and NOYS and to take your time when driving and avoid distractions so you can safely enjoy the freedom a driver’s license offers.

Contact Our Binghamton Injury Law Attorneys Today

Experience counts.  If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries in a New York accident due to a drugged driver, contact Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney, to help. Our New York personal injury law office handles all types of accident, injury and medical malpractice cases.

As you work on recovering from your injuries, let our Binghamton, New York accident attorney’s office take care of the rest, including the paperwork, insurance documents and other legal issues related to your accident. Contact our personal injury attorney today at (607) 304-4121 or use our online contact form. There is no charge for the consultation.

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