Parents and Passengers Affecting Teen’s Risks for Car Accidents in Alabama, Nation

Feb 7, 2012 - Car Accidents by

Teens are at high risks for car accidents in Montgomery, Alabama and elsewhere. Their inexperience behind the wheel hinders their ability to safely navigate our roadways. But did you know there are things you and your teen driver may be doing that can be increasing those risks?

According to two new studies released in the Journal of Adolescent Health, passengers and parental involvement can make or break your teen’s safety behind the wheel.
Both of the recent studies concluded that comprehensive graduated driver’s licensing (GDL) programs and parental oversight are effective ways to help to reduce the risks of teen car accidents.

One of the studies looked at the driving habits of nearly 200 teenage drivers in 15 different states with graduated drivers licensing (GDL) programs. After analyzing their driving behaviors, researchers concluded that teens who had parents who were involved in monitoring the young driver’s habits were less likely to act dangerously behind the wheel. The teen drivers with parents who stayed aware of their teen’s whereabouts and their driving habits were typically safer behind the wheel.

One of the most important factors in a teen’s safety is the number of passengers in the vehicle with them. Even with some of the strictest parental oversight, a teen’s perception of dangers and risks on the road diminish significantly when other teen passengers are present.

The second of the two studies examined the accident reports of nearly 700 teen drivers, ages 16 to 18, who were involved in a traffic accidents. According to on-scene accident investigations, both female and male teen drivers were more susceptible to accidents when passengers were in the vehicle.

When passengers are present, male teen drivers were more likely to act aggressively behind the wheel and to pull an illegal maneuver just seconds before the accident. When passengers were present, female teen drivers were more likely to engage in activities with the passengers, such as talking, texting and making calls just seconds before the accident occurred. Both male and female drivers drove more safely when they were not with other teen passengers.

“Distraction from peer passengers appears to play a prominent role for both male and female drivers,” said the lead author of the studies, Allison E. Curry, Ph.D., MPH.

In the state of Alabama, teen drivers can have no more than one passenger at a time with them while operating a motor vehicle under an intermediate or restricted license stage, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). With a comprehensive GDL program in place in Alabama, nighttime driving restrictions, supervision requirements and passenger restrictions, it’s a start. But parents need to stay on top of their teen driver to make sure these rules are enforced and that they’re in-the-know with their teen’s driving habits. GDL programs coupled with parental oversight can help to keep our teens safe on our Alabama roadways.

More Blog Entries:

Earlier Sun Set and Greater Risks for Car Accidents in Tuscaloosa, Alabama Injury Attorneys Blog, November 15, 2011

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