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Add teen passengers to a teen driver's car, and tragedy can occur

A new report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety presents some staggering evidence about teenage drivers and teenage passengers; and the fatal car accident rate that results when the two are put together.

As many people in Montgomery County, Maryland known, teens are the one of the highest accident risk groups on the road. According to the organization's data, this risk gets increasingly greater when teenage drivers give a ride to their friends.

The study shows that drivers who are either 16 or 17 years of age see their fatal accident rate jump 44% when they have a single under-21 passenger in their car. When there are two under-21 passengers in the vehicle, that same teenage driver has doubled the likelihood that he or she will suffer fatal consequences in a car accident. The rate dramatically increases when there are three under-21 passengers in the car: the driver is four times as likely to perish in a car accident.

These numbers were determined by comparing the circumstances to a 16- or 17-year-old driver that had no passengers in his or her car. There was some good news, though -- if a driver aged 16 or 17 has a 35-year-old passenger (or older), the teen behind the wheel is 62% less likely to get into a fatal accident.

Clearly parents have a big say in the safety of their children, but that seems especially true when it comes to driving. If you have children, discuss things with your son or daughter and let them know their attention needs to be on the road when they have friends in the car. Their focus needs to be on driving the vehicle, not talking with friends or driving fast to impress them.

Source: The Car Connection, "Teen Drivers More At Risk With Other Teens In The Car," Suzanne Kane, May 8, 2012

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