There’s a new reminder to make sure your teen knows the rules of the road before they get behind the wheel. New research from AAA reinforced that teen drivers with a teen passenger can be a deadly combination.
When teens drive with other teens, the fatality rate for everyone involved in a crash jumps up 50 percent, according to AAA data from 2016.
“In 2016 in Connecticut, we had 18 fatalities resulting from crashes that involved teen drivers, and 2/3rds of those fatalities were someone other than the teen driver,” Jennifer Shorette, director of AAA driving school in West Hartford, said.
The research also notes there’s an opposite effect.
When teens drive adult passengers, like parents, that fatality rate actually decreases 8 percent.
Alison Holzer, a mother of two, said she believes that whom teens drive with affects their safety expectations.
“If the expectations of older adults in the car are, ‘Let’s be safe, let’s be focused on the road,’ that’s going to impact how the teens act and how they think,” Holzer said.
Connecticut law prohibits 16- and 17-year-old drivers from driving other teens in the car during the first year they have a license.
To some, like Ericc Gagne, that timeline might not be enough.
“Having maybe an older number or limiting the number of people within the car. That may be something of interest as well,” he said.
AAA West Hartford recommends sitting with your child to review the rules of the road and considering who goes in the back seat.
“We need to be mindful as a community here that this really affects everyone,” Shorette said.