New Research on Teen Passengers – A Leading Distraction

Passenger safety has emerged as a critical component of efforts to reduce the nation’s high rate of teenage traffic deaths, a focus bolstered by two new studies that link increased crash risk with teen drivers carrying teen passengers.

The studies, by the research alliance of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and State Farm Insurance Companies®, offer evidence-based guidance for parents and policymakers seeking to reduce the high rate of teen car crashes, the No. 1 cause of death for American teens.

The recent findings add to the growing body of research that teen driver crash rates rise when teen passengers are in the car, putting both drivers and passengers at risk. The studies also point to the need for Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws in every state that restrict passengers for novice drivers and encourage safe passenger behaviors.

Key findings of the two CHOP and State Farm studies include:

    • Adolescent and teen passengers are more likely to die if a teen driver is behind the wheel. Starting at ages 12 to 14, a child passenger’s risk of dying in a crash involving a teen driver doubles, and the risk continues to rise for each teen year.
    • Most teens are unaware of passenger risk. Only 1 in 10 teens believe peer passengers can influence their safety.
    • Most teens (60%) know inexperience heavily influences safety, but only 15% correctly view their peers as inexperienced drivers.

Based on this evidence, CHOP and State Farm are supporting a variety of outreach efforts to improve teen passenger safety. For more information, visit