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Pennsylvania teen drivers at higher risk of fatal accidents

Pennsylvania’s teen drivers are at a higher risk of being involved in fatal car crashes when they have teenage passengers in the vehicle with them, according to research from the American Automobile Association’s Foundation for Traffic Safety. AAA reports that the risk of fatal car crashes involving teen drivers more than doubles when there are teenage passengers present.

Interestingly, the risk of fatal crashes decreases by eight percent for all teen drivers when there is a parent or other adult (over the age of 35) present. This illustrates the importance of supervised driving when teens are first learning the rules of the road. AAA recommends that teen drivers have at least 100 hours of supervised driving experience before they transport other teens.

AAA also reports that 16- and 17-year-old drivers are at particular risk of fatal accidents if they drive with teen passengers. The risk of a deadly crash where the driver is killed quadruples if a young driver has more than three similarly aged passengers in the car. Fatality rates for this narrow demographic double with two passengers and increase 44 percent with a single teen passenger.

Most teen drivers simply don’t have the requisite experience and skill to handle driving with teen passengers in the vehicle. They also tend to drive while distracted by electronic devices like cellphones, texting and apps. Simply having a parent in the car to monitor things can make a huge difference.

AAA data reveals that there were over one million teen driver-caused car accidents in 2016 alone (the most recent year for which data is available), resulting in 3,200 fatalities and many more times that number of injuries.