Teenage Drivers

Meredith Terpstra

Everyone is at risk when teens are behind the wheel.

In 2016, teen drivers were involved in more than 1 million police-reported crashes that resulted in more than 3,200 deaths. New research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that when a teen driver had a teen passenger in their vehicle, the fatality rate for the people involved in the crash increased by 51 percent over the teen driving alone. In contrast, when experienced drivers ride with a teen driver, the fatality rates decreased eight percent.

Parents as supervisors and coaches in the passenger seats are the first line of defense in training teen drivers.

Considering the immense risk created by teen drivers carrying teen passengers, AAA suggests that parents should:

  • Require teens to log at least 100 hours of supervised practice driving with a parent before driving solo
  • Allow no more than one non-family passenger under the age of 20 to ride with a teen driver during the first six months of driving
  • Begin by practicing to drive in low-risk situations and gradually move to situations that are more complex: highways, nighttime, driving in the rain or challenging roadways (e.g., curves).
  • Use slightly different routes each practice session
  • Practice adjusting speed based on three factors: visibility, on-road traffic and different road conditions

For more parent/teen information and resources, visit TeenDriving.AAA.com.