Peer Passengers
teen passenger risks

Teen Passenger Risks

Peer passengers are a dangerous distraction for teen drivers. Although it may seem harmless for the newly licensed to drive their friends home from practice or to the movies, teen passenger risks are real. The crash risk doubles when teens drive one peer passenger and triples with two or more teen passengers.

To manage teen passenger risks, Graduated Driving Licensing (GDL) provisions include passenger limits for newly licensed teens. Parents and teens need to agree to this initial delay on driving with friends in the car. It’s nonnegotiable and about safety for both teen drivers and their passengers.

When driving passengers, teens behind the wheel are responsible for everyone’s safety. It’s a big responsibility, and teen drivers should feel empowered to set rules for their car and to take control. Here are key rules for the car:

  • Always wear a seat belt
  • No alcohol or drugs
  • Do not pressure the driver to speed
  • Keep the music down
  • Do not act wild
  • Show respect for the driver

As passengers, teens should respect the responsibility their friends are taking to drive them. It’s also important to not accept rides from newly licensed teen drivers. Parents can be the perfect scapegoat. Together devise a plan to say, “my parent is expecting to pick me up.”

Learn about trends in peer passenger safety.


Teen drivers with peer passengers are more likely to be distracted just before a serious crash than teens driving alone.

More Facts and Statistics About Teen Passenger Risks

  • From 2008 to 2017,  fatalities among passengers of teen drivers decreased 5 percent; 66 percent of these fatalities were to those 15 to 20 years old. 

  • As compared to male teens driving alone, those with peer passengers were more likely to have been driving aggressively right before they crashed.

  • Although most states now have restrictions limiting the number of passengers newly licensed teens may drive as part of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) programs, most allow them to carry family members.

  • With peer passengers in the car, male teen drivers were almost six times more likely to perform an illegal maneuver and twice more likely to act aggressively before crashing than when driving alone. Conversely, female teen drivers rarely drove aggressively before crashing, regardless of the presence of peer passengers.

Pick Your Practice

With a couple of clicks, think about what skills you would like to practice first as a learner driver, and we’ll point you to videos and tips on how to practice them. Take this online driving quiz to Pick Your Practice!

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