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You Can Help Your Teen

Peer Passengers

While talking or texting on a cell phone are well-documented driving distractions, one of the most dangerous hazards a teen driver faces is often overlooked—peer passengers. Two or more peer passengers more than triples the risk of a fatal crash when a teen is behind the wheel. New CHOP research also found that teen drivers with peer passengers were more likely to be distracted just before a serious crash than teens driving alone. Among the teens who said they were distracted by something inside the vehicle before crashing, 71 percent of males and 47 percent of females said they were distracted directly by the actions of their passengers. Males that drove their friends were almost six times more likely to perform an illegal maneuver and more than twice as likely to drive aggressively just before a crash than when driving solo. Females rarely drove aggressively before a crash, regardless of whether they had passengers in the car.

Talk to your teens about why peer passengers can adversely affect driving safety. Take these steps to keep them (and their passengers) safe:

  • Set and enforce a house rule of no nonsibling teen passengers for the first six months of independent driving and no more than 1 nonsibling teen passenger for the second six months of driving on their own.
  • Stay involved in your teen's driving beyond the learner permit phase. Recent CHOP recent found that teens who strongly perceived their parents as monitoring and setting rules are significantly less likely to drive with multiple passengers and less likely to engage in risky driving behaviors than teens who did not share these strong perceptions.
  • Learn how to encourage safe passenger and driver behavior here.
  • Advocate for stronger Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws in your state that limit the number of passengers teens may drive.
Peer Passengers
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