Texas residents know that distracted driving crashes frequently involve teens. Teen drivers are inexperienced, and even a conversation with a passenger can take away their attention from the road. A single peer passenger, says the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, can make a teen driver 44% more likely to crash.
It would be much safer for teens if they simply went without young passengers for their first six months as licensed drivers. Better yet, they should try to go without young passengers for the first year. Parents can come up with an appropriate plan with their teens.
The plan should also touch on when a teen can or cannot ride as a passenger in a friend’s car. After all, crashes affect passengers as well as drivers. Parents should ask their teens whether the driver is newly licensed or not, whether they will drive at night and how far they will be traveling before coming to a decision.
When experts say “no young passengers,” they include siblings as well. While it may be convenient for teens to pick up and drop off the younger children while the parents are at work, it’s not safe. In fact, siblings, since they can more easily get each other excited or angry, can be more distracting for teen drivers than their friends.
Distracted driving is behind many motor vehicle accidents, and it may actually be an under-reported phenomenon. After all, if there are no phone records or eyewitness testimonies to prove it, and if drivers lie to the police about their actions prior to the crash, the crash cannot be attributed to distraction. This can make it hard for crash victims to prove negligence and so seek compensation for their injuries. They may want to consult a lawyer about their next move.