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In fact, research shows that a single teen passenger increases a teen driver’s crash risk by 44%.
Peer passengers are yet another distraction – one that teens just don’t have enough experience to manage effectively.
Unfortunately for your teen, this means no special date nights, no picking up a friend on the way to the movies, and certainly not driving a group of friends to the mall, the big game or even just to school.
Your teen doesn’t have to be the driver, either. Remember passengers die in teen driver crashes, too. If your teen is going to be a passenger in a teen’s car, make sure you know the basics: Who’s driving, where are they going and when will they be on the road? How long has the teen driver had their license? Are they driving far from home? Will they be driving at night? All these factors will impact your teen’s safety.
It also means no brothers or sisters, which may be more unfortunate for you than your teen. While it may make perfect sense to let your teen drop their little sister off at dance class or pick up their little brother from band practice so you can stay late for a work meeting or get dinner started, resist the temptation.
Siblings can actually be more of a distraction to your teen than their friends! They know what buttons to push and how to make them laugh, and your teen shouldn’t be driving if they’re angry, excited or distracted.
Keep in mind that many states allow brothers and sisters to ride with new teen drivers, but not because they’re safer to drive with than other kids. They are allowed because politicians would not have been able to pass the legislation without the carrot of getting us parents out of the taxi business sooner – but the safety research is clear: For the first six months after teens get their license, our new teen drivers shouldn’t have ANY young passengers. If your teen (and you) can hold off on having young passengers for at least a year, they will be even safer.
DriveitHOME™ is an initiative of the National Safety Council, designed by and for parents of newly licensed teen drivers. DriveitHOME™ offers free resources parents can use to help their teen build experience to become safer drivers.
The National Safety Council is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization.