In a vehicle, your passengers can strongly influence the way you drive. The initial licensing phase laws in Illinois state that the first 12 months of licensing, or until the driver turns 18, whichever occurs first, the number of passengers is limited to one person under age 20, unless the passenger(s) is a sibling, step-sibling, child or stepchild of the driver. After this period, the number of passengers is limited to one in the front seat and the number of safety belts in the back seat. The following alarming statistics will explain why these laws are enforced:
57% of distracted auto crashes are due to talking with passengers.
59% of teenage passenger deaths occur in vehicles driven by another teenager.
Two or more peer passengers more than triples the risk of a fatal crash with a teen at the wheel.
Studies have found that just knowing they’re being observed by friends can cause teen drivers to engage in risky driving behaviors. Being a new driver is stressful enough as it is, but if teens are trying to impress others this may remove focus away from safe driving practices. Teens may be more inclined to speed, turn up the music, or drive erratically when their friends or peers are in the car with them.
If you’re a parent of a teen driver, be sure to encourage them to act responsibly when driving or as a passenger. It’s exciting to drive with your friends for the first time, but it comes with immense responsibility that should not be taken lightly. For more information from Top Driver regarding passengers for teen drivers, click here.