Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Passenger Risks with Teen Drivers

Although much research and media attention has been given to teen drivers and the risks involved, less focus has been placed on the safety of their passengers.

A recent study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine offered evidence that our young drivers and their passengers deserve closer attention. In a review of national data from both US Census and police-reported crashes, the researchers found nearly 450,000 passengers between the ages of 8 and 17 were in tow-away crashes annually, with almost 4 in 1,000 resulting in a fatality. Almost half of those passengers were in cars driven by 16 to 19-year-olds, and when riding with a teen driver, the fatality rate doubled.

The research also revealed that the greatest risk factors for young passengers between 8 and 17 years of age who were killed in car accidents, were when:
1)    The drivers were younger than 16
2)    Passengers were not wearing seat belt
3)    The drivers were going faster than 55 miles per hour.

The researchers recommended that policy makers consider adjusting licensing laws toward higher minimum ages and to restrict these young new driers from driving with minors in their cars. Likewise, they recommend parents be away of who their children are riding with and help young passengers be more aware of the risks and take better precautions, such as simply bucking up! 

References: Winston, F., Kallan, M., Senserrick, T., Elliott, M. (2008). Risk factors for death among older children and teenaged motor vehicle passengers. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent medicine. Vol. 162, (3), 253-260.

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