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Passengers are distractions that can be fatal

For teens, getting a driver's license is thrilling, especially if a teen is the first in his or her friend group to get one. Suddenly, the whole group has a new mode of transportation. However, as exciting as this is, stats show that passengers are a terrible distraction for teens, sometimes leading to deadly accidents.

One study found that the risk of a deadly wreck triples for teen drivers if they have at least two people in the car with them. The risk isn't always just to the driver. For instance, in 2011, teens crashed and took the lives of 933 passengers.

When teens who had crashed were asked, 20 percent of the female drivers said something inside the car was a distraction, and a full 47 percent said their passengers were the distraction that caused the crash. For male drivers, both numbers were higher, with 24 percent saying they were distracted and 71 percent saying their passengers were the distraction.

It's not just distractions that are an issue. Male teens were nearly twice as likely to drive aggressively if they had friends in the car, and they were a full six times as likely to do something that constituted an illegal maneuver. The same did not hold true for female drivers, however. They didn't tend to exhibit signs of overly aggressive driving, whether they were alone or with friends.

All told, it's clear that teens, already a high risk group, are more dangerous when driving with their friends. If that leads to an accident and you're injured, you must know if you can seek compensation for your injuries and related costs.

Source: Teen Driver Source, "Passengers as Deadly Distractions - Peers and Older Teen Passengers," accessed Nov. 18, 2016

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