Recently, three California teenagers were killed in a motor vehicle accident according to CBS. The accident occurred at approximately 1:50 in the morning. It was a single vehicle crash and the three young people who were killed were aged 18, 16, and 13. The young people were in a car that veered off of the road, went through a guard rail, and went into an open dirt field. The cause of the collision was under investigation by authorities.
Tragically, these teens were among many young people who lose their lives each year in California and throughout the United States in car accidents. While there are lots of different risk factors which make it much more likely teens will lose their lives in crashes compared with older and more experienced drivers, one of the biggest issue for young motorists is having passengers in the car with them.
Passengers in the Car With Teen Drivers Can Be Deadly
CBS News published results of a recent study in which 52 teenagers had their driving behavior recorded with in-vehicle cameras. The research showed the risk of a serious distracted driving incident is understated by most studies. The risk also revealed the biggest risk factor associated with collisions caused by distracted driving: having passengers in the car.
Having passengers in the car with the teen driver was significantly more likely to result in evasive action to avoid a crash than the use of a cell phone. Having passengers in the car was also more likely to cause car accidents than either eating while driving or reaching for something in the car while driving.
The louder the teen passengers were and the more careless they were, the greater the risk of some type of evasive maneuver. For example, a problem was six times more likely to happen when the passengers were talking loudly and was three times more likely to happen when passengers in the car were fooling around.
California laws are designed to prevent teens from having passengers in the car with them, because lawmakers recognize the dangers. Under California's graduated licensing rules, teens are not supposed to have other teen passengers in the car with them for the first 12 months after they get their license. Teens in California can get a full license at age 17 and the passenger restriction ends.
Unfortunately, as this recent tragic collision shows, even 18-year-old drivers may be at higher risk of a collision with passengers in the car who could potentially cause a distraction. Teens need to ensure they are safe at all times no matter how many people are in the car with them, which means paying careful attention to the road and not allowing passengers to be a safety risk. Avoiding passengers as much as possible is the best solution.