A recent study examining government data from 2007 to 2010 found a teenage driver’s risk of dying in an accident increases when other teens are present in the vehicle and dramatically decreases when there’s an adult in the vehicle. Teens drive differently when there are other teens present in a vehicle than when an adult, in this case someone 21 or older, is in the vehicle.
The numbers on this are pretty interesting;
- A 16 or 17 year old driver’s risk of death per mile driven is 44% higher when there’s one passenger younger than 21 and no passengers 21 or older
- The risk doubles when there are two passengers younger than 21
- The risk quadruples when there are 3 or more passengers younger than 21
- The risk drops by 62 percent when there’s a passenger 35 or older present in the vehicle
Data like this has led many states, Texas included, to adopt graduated licensing laws. For Texas, this means there are two phases for drivers under the age of 18 pass through as they gain driving experience.
Phase 1 Drivers must
- Hold a learners permit for 6 months prior to receiving their driver’s license
- During this phase, the teen must complete an approved driver training course
Phase 2 Drivers restrictions
The driver’s license is issued on a provisional basis so the newly licensed driver can gain some invaluable driving experience. The provisional time period runs during the first 12 months (for drivers younger than 18). Restrictions include;
- The driver may not have more than 1 passenger in the vehicle under 21 (unless it’s an immediate family member)
- Provisional teen drivers are not permitted to drive between the hours of midnight & 5:00 a.m. except in cases of
- a medical emergency
- purposes of employment
- a school sanctioned activity
- After 6 months have passed, both the time restriction (except in the case of our curfew laws) and the passenger restriction are waived
- Phase 2 drivers are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving
Parents, if you want to further reduce your son or daughter’s risk, restrict the number of friends that can ride with them until they have a full 2 years of driving experience. If you have any advice for our other parents, enter a comment in the comments section and share your experience! I’ve helped raise 3 teen sons so I understand!