Driving and Teens

If a 16-year-old driver brings along a friend the death rate rises by nearly 40%; if a another joins them driving, the rate rises by 85%.

Dr. Greene’s take on teenage driving…

Teenage driving is a dangerous proposition, with fatal collisions the leading cause of death in 15-19 year olds. But getting teens together in a car multiplies the risk. According to a report in the March 22/29th, 2000 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, if a 16-year-old driver brings along a friend the death rate rises by nearly 40%; if a another joins them, the rate rises by 85%; if there are 4 in the car the rates soar to 182% over driving alone. (By contrast, with adults the rate goes down with added passengers).

Nighttime driver death rates, even without passengers, are much higher than daytime death rates. The presence of even one passenger makes nighttime driver death rates scary.

I am in favor of graduated license programs that don’t allow 16- or 17-year-olds to drive after 10 p.m. or with teenage passengers. In the meantime, though, these are wise guidelines for parents to set for their own treasured teens.

Published on: April 10, 2000
About the Author
Photo of Dr. Alan Greene
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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