Key Messages

  1. Distractions are deadly for teen drivers. They are one of the key factors that lead to crashes, and car crashes are the leading killer of teens.
  2. Peer passengers are a major factor in fatal teen crashes. Just one teen passenger doubles the risk a teen driver will get in a fatal crash. Having three or more peer passengers quadruples the risk.
  3. Few teens know about this risk. Only 1 in 10 teens consider the presence of peer passengers to influence their safety.
  4. Teens can “ride like a friend” by wearing a seat belt, reducing distractions, respecting the driver, and helping the driver if asked. These safe passenger behaviors will help reduce crash risk and injuries and deaths if crashes do occur.
  5. Teens should limit peer passengers during the first year of independent driving. Fatal crash risk hits a lifetime high in the first six months of driving alone. Teen drivers should have no passengers under age 21 during the first six months after licensure, and no more than one peer passenger for the second six months.
  6. Teen passengers should not ride with novice drivers. Most teen passengers that die on the road were riding with teen drivers. Teens should not ride with their peers until they have been driving on their own for at least six months.