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How Many Teen Passengers is Too Many?

Teen Drivers with Passengers

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of teen crashes and cell phone use is a major contributor. However, another distracted driving behavior leading to teen car accidents is passenger interaction. Studies show that a teen’s chances of getting into an accident increase with each additional teenage passenger in the car.


Passenger Distractions: The Statistics

Peer passengers are a major distraction for teen drivers. Attention tends to be focused on the riders, not the road. In addition, teen drivers just don’t have the experience to anticipate problems while driving and they lack the driving skills that may be needed to avoid an accident.

Questions? Our knowledgeable staff is available at (877) 284-6600.


Graduated Driving Licensing

To help manage teen passenger risks, Graduated Driving Licensing (GDL) provisions include passenger limits for newly licensed teens.

Missouri’s Graduated Driver License law requires that all first-time drivers between 15 and 18 years old complete a period of driving with a licensed driver (instruction permit), and restricted driving (intermediate license), before getting a full driver license.

Although most states now have restrictions limiting the number of passengers newly licensed teens may drive as part of Graduated Driver Licensing programs, most allow them to carry family members.


How Parents can Help Teen Drivers

  • Teen driving with parentSupervise your teen’s driving. Coach them on becoming responsible and safe drivers. Practice in low-risk situations gradually increasing the complexity of the situations.
  • Follow the GDL rules for your state especially as it relates to passengers. You can choose to limit the number of non-family passengers after the first six months of driving to less than the three allowed.
  • Have rules for your teen driver as well as any passengers. Always wear a seat belt. Do not pressure the driver to speed. Do not act wild. Respect the driver.
  • Set the default “do not disturb” setting on your teen’s phone if it has one. Instruct your teen not to use a cell phone in any capacity while driving, especially with passengers in the vehicle.
  • Model safe driving behaviors for your teen. Do not use a cell phone, be it hands-free or hand-held, for any purpose (calling, emailing, texting) while behind the wheel. Either pull off the road or wait until you arrive before using the device.

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