Teen cell phone use behind the wheel used to be thought of as the biggest danger to teen drivers, but according to a new study it is the passengers in the vehicle- specifically teen passengers in the vehicle who pose the biggest threat to teen drivers. The fatality rate in a motor vehicle crash, increased 51 percent, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, whenever a teen driver had teen passengers in his or her car.

The fatality rate for the occupants of other cars involved in crashes caused by teen drivers with teen passengers went up by 56 percent. If a pedestrian or cyclist was also involved in this type of accident, the fatality rate increased by 17 percent.  In contrast, when older passengers (35 or older) ride with a teen driver, overall fatality rates in crashes decreased eight percent

AAA reported that teen drivers were involved in more than one million car accidents resulting in more than 3,200 fatalities in the year 2016.

This raises the question: Why is the rate of fatality higher when teen drivers are accompanied by teen passengers in the vehicle?

One of the main reasons cited by AAA is the lack of supervision and training of these young drivers. One recommendation made by AAA is to require teen drivers log a certain number of supervised driving hours with a parent before being allowed to drive alone or with another teen.

As parents and guardians, it is our job to ensure that our young drivers are trained in how to react in various traffic safety situations. There are ways to prevent teen motor vehicle accidents and injuries. As the teen driver begins to become more comfortable in lower-risk driving situations, it is helpful to slowly move him or her up into more complex situations, such as driving on interstates, driving in adverse weather conditions, or driving at night. These practice drives should, of course, be supervised by an adult driver.

The freedom of the open road can be a lot of fun for a young driver, and it can be tempting to want to take classmates or friends on a drive. As a Miami personal injury lawyer– who has represented both teen drivers and their families who have been seriously hurt by others and the families of those who have been hurt and even killed by teen drivers- I worry.

AAA strongly recommends that no more than one non-family passenger under the age of 20 years old be allowed to ride with the teen driver during his or her first six months of having a driver’s license. This rule may come with some pushback from your teen driver, but the safety benefits far outweigh the risks in the end.

It is estimated that more than 800,000 licensed teen drivers are in the State of Florida, so it is important more than ever to be sure that our teen drivers are properly trained and are safely driving on the roads.

Distracted driving involves much more than using a smartphone while operating a vehicle. Make sure that your teen driver is fully trained and ready before allowing him or her behind the wheel with his or her friends in the car.


If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Florida, it is very important to consult with an experienced Miami auto accident attorney immediately. Florida auto accident victims have only 14 days to seek initial medical attention to receive insurance benefits after an accident, so it is important you are seen by a doctor as soon as possible following the accident. Spencer Aronfeld is a Board Certified Trial Lawyer, and he and the lawyers at Aronfeld Trial Lawyers understand Florida’s complex personal injury laws and since 1991 we have fought hard to protect the legal rights of the injured and their families- and hold auto insurers like State Farm, Allstate, Progressive, GEICO and others accountable for the pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages and other damages suffered by our clients. Contact us today and speak with an experienced Miami auto accident attorney toll free 1-866-597-4529, local 305-441-0440, or by email. We offer a free initial consultation at your home, office, hotel or hospital. Call us today, we are ready to help.