Teen Driver Fatality Risk

STATELINE (WIFR) – Just in the last few days, 10 teenagers have been killed in horrific traffic crashes in Ohio and Illinois and now, extra attention is being put on a national report that shows the more people in a car, the greater the chance you’ll die in a wreck.

Local police say this should be a wake-up call for parents about to hand the keys over to their 16-year-olds. A study conducted by AAA shows the more teens in a car, the higher the chances for a fatal traffic crash.

That statistic also rings true here in our area, where three teens died last year in similar situations.

According to the study, the chances of a fatal crash increases more than 40% when a driver is riding with another passenger younger than 21 and the more friends in a car, the worse it gets. The report shows just adding one more person doubles a teen’s risk for a fatal crash and following the trend, the risk quadruples with more than 3 teens in the car. Local officers say that’s because of distracted driving.

“You see a lot of times that simply their mind is elsewhere. They are thinking about the game they are going to or the arcade, or wherever it is they are going talking to their friends, paying attention to everything but the roadway,” said Deputy Chief Scott Meyers with the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department.

Some would say it is obvious that if you have more people in the car, the risk is higher for more deaths, but it doesn’t work like that. Local police officers say having multiple teens in the same vehicle is extremely distracting and if you add an adult in the car over 35, the teen driver’s risk drops more than 60%.

Police say parents should spend more time driving with their kids before they get their license. In Illinois, teens aren’t allowed to drive with more than one person in the car for the first year after they become legal.


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