Study Shows Fatal Crash Risks Among Teen Drivers Increase with Teen Passengers

A newly released study from AAA is revealing just how dangerous it can be when teenage motorists drive with fellow teens, and is prompting many parents to reconsider ground rules for their own newly licensed drivers. As the study shows, there are some significant findings:

  • Teen drivers with teen passengers in their vehicle nearly double their risks of being involved in fatal car accidents as compared to when teens drive alone or with older passengers, such as their parents.
  • Teen drivers themselves are more than 45% likely to die in fatal wrecks when they have other teens in the car.
  • For motorists in other vehicles, teen drivers transporting other teens increase risks of deadly risks by 56%. For pedestrians and bicyclists, the death rate is roughly 17%.

The study provides insight into established accident statistics, including data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) which shows that teen motorists were involved in over 1 million police-reported accidents in 2016 alone, and that 3,200 teens died as a result of fatal wrecks.


According to AAA and safety advocates, the problem stems from teens being more likely to engage in risky behaviors behind the wheel when they are with multiple teenage passengers. These risky behaviors include:

  • A greater likelihood of teen drivers interacting with their passengers, causing them to miss important collision-critical situations and generally be less aware of their surroundings.
  • Increased risks of speeding, running red lights, and committing other traffic infractions that may lead to more severe collisions.
  • Teens drivers with teenage passengers are also more likely to engage with their cell phones and cause serious wrecks as a result of distracted driving.

Although Illinois does enforce restrictions for young and newly licensed drivers by prohibiting them from having more than one non-family member in their vehicles during the first year they’re on the road, the new study suggests that parents may want to consider their own stance on the issue. One AAA spokesperson weighing in on the study shared her own policies for her 16-year-old newly licensed driver: no more than one other teen passenger in the vehicle, and absolutely no cell phone use behind the wheel when driving or when riding as a passenger in another teen’s car.


Unfortunately, teen drivers can increase crash risks on public roads. Even teens who do follow the rules, avoid cell phone use, and limit the number of teen passengers in their car can also face risks of being involved in wrecks when others around them, regardless of their age, engage in negligent or wrongful acts.

As a Chicago-based law firm comprised of award-winning lawyers, our team at Leonard Law Group has experience representing victims of all types of motor vehicle accidents – from car and commercial truck accidents to auto accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists injured by negligent motorists. While the age of a driver may provide direction in a case in terms of identifying a possible cause, we work diligently to explore all potential factors and underlying issues, regardless of a driver’s age, that may lead to preventable wrecks, serious injuries, or even wrongful death, including:

If you have been injured in an auto accident caused by another’s negligence, or have a child or family member who has been injured in a preventable wreck, Leonard Law Group is here to help you assert your rights, navigate the legal journey ahead, and fight for the full financial compensation you deserve. Our firm has earned a reputation for our legal skills and ability to clients, our focus on accidents resulting in serious injuries, and for recovering more than $750 million in compensation for our clients since 1996.

If you would like more information about your rights and the Personal Injury claim process in Chicago or any of the surrounding areas in Illinois, please contact us for a FREE and confidential consultation.

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