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The Effect of Passengers on Teen Driver Behavior (Report)


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A number of studies have shown that passengers substantially increase the risk of crashes for young, novice drivers. This increased risk may result from distractions that young passengers create for drivers. Alternatively, the presence of passengers may increase the likelihood of teenage drivers engaging in explicitly risky behaviors, for example, by actively encouraging drivers to take risks. A better understanding of how transporting peers contributes to young driver increased crash risk will help develop strategies to reduce this risk. NHTSA analyzed data collected through an earlier naturalistic driving study (Goodwin, Foss, Margolis, & Waller, 2010). Over a 6-month study period, event-based data recorders collected 24,085 driving clips, of which 4,466 were selected for analysis. The sample included 52 drivers: 38 newly licensed teens and 14 high-school-age siblings.