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PA Teen Drivers With Teen Passengers Are At a Higher Risk of an Automobile Accident

Our Pennsylvania truck accident attorneys have published a variety of articles stressing the importance of educating teen drivers about the dangers of distracted driving.  Last week we presented information regarding Global Youth Traffic Safety Month that kicked off on May 8 to focus on keeping teens safe during the summer when the number of teen car accident fatalities rise.

While we are not “picking” on young drivers, we believe it is critical to pass on as much information to our readers as we can pertaining to teen driving hazards.  Unfortunately, a distracted driving or impaired driving accident does not only physically ruin lives, it can also lead to legal and financial issues that can permanently alter a teen’s life.

According to an AP news article, a 16-year-old Connecticut teen is now facing charges, including negligent homicide with a motor vehicle and using a handheld telephone under age 18, after she struck and killed a jogger while she was using her cellphone while driving.  The teen, who was just charged in the March accident, could face six months in jail, a 30-day license suspension and license restoration and court fees.

Now, according to a new report from AAA, teen drivers run a significant risk of being distracted and being in an automobile accident when they have teen passengers in the car with them.  The study, “Teen Driver Risk in Relation to Age and Number of Passengers,” reports that teens who were driving with one passenger who was under 21 years old increased the risk of being involved in a fatal accident by 44 percent. When there were two passengers under 21-years-old the risk doubled. Three or more passengers under 21 quadrupled the risk.

On the other hand, if a teen driver has at least one passenger aged 35 or older in the vehicle there is a 62% decrease in a 16- or 17-year-old driver’s risk of being killed in a crash and a 46% decrease in the risk of being involved in any police reported crash.

According to, 223 people were killed in PA car crashes involving teenaged drivers in 2010.  In the last 10 years, 1,279 have died in Pennsylvania at the hands of teen drivers.  Nationwide, over 85,000 people have been killed in teen driving crashes.

Pennsylvania’s graduated driver licensing program does not limit the number of passengers in a teen’s vehicle.  The program does prohibit unsupervised nighttime driving between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.

“The connection between carrying young passengers and increased fatal crash risk is clear, and placing appropriate limits is a key part of graduated driver licensing,” said Beth Mosher, director of public affairs for AAA Chicago in the AAA press release. “By limiting the number of passengers that 16- and 17-year-old drivers can have in the car, these policies help ensure that teens stay focused on the road and gain the experience they need to become safe drivers.”

We encourage parents and adults to follow safe driving behaviors when in the car with teenage drivers. We also ask parents to restrict their children from transporting other teens without another responsible adult in the vehicle.  Teenagers are known to take risks when driving; however, when educated properly they will drive responsibly and safely.

About Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys

Munley Law is a Pennsylvania accident and injury law firm that represents car accident victims and their families throughout the state of Pennsylvania and the Northeast, including those injured in accidents that involve speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving, fatigued driving, aggressive driving and careless driving in hazardous weather conditions. The Pennsylvania personal injury law firm’s additional practice areas include trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, toxic chemicals, workplace injuries, nursing home litigation and other serious accidents. To contact the law firm, use the firm’s online contact form.

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Posted in Car Accidents.


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