• September 3rd, 2019

The presence of passengers in a vehicle has been shown to increase the risk of fatal crash involvement for teenage drivers; however, the studies that have quantified this relationship were based on data that are now over a decade old. In the years since these studies, most U.S. states have enacted graduated driver licensing systems that limit the number of passengers that young drivers are allowed to carry during their first several months of
independent driving, and the number of 16- and 17-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes each year has decreased by more than half. The objective of this study was to provide updated estimates of the relationship between the number and ages of passengers present and the crash risk per mile driven of 16- and 17-year-old drivers.

Data on crashes that occurred in years 2007–2010 and data on the number of miles driven in years 2008–2009 were examined. Rates of crash involvement and driver death per mile driven were estimated for 16- and 17-year-old drivers with no passengers; with one, two, and three or more passengers younger than age 21 (and no older passengers); and with at least one passenger aged 35 or older.