NORMAN — It’s no surprise that the leading cause of death for teenagers is traffic crashes. In Oklahoma, 14,266 teens between the ages of 15 and 19 were involved in crashes. In those wrecks, 30 teen drivers and 28 passengers died.
New research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released during National Teen Driver Safety Week affirms what most already suspected: Risk-taking increases when more teens are inside the vehicle.
Teen drivers are much more likely to speed with three or more teen passengers on board than when they are driving alone. They are more likely to drive late at night and use alcohol, according to the research.
Lawmakers passed a graduated driver’s license a few years back that limits teen passengers during the intermediate phase. That has reduced the number of fatality accidents involving young drivers. But after 50 supervised hours of driving, teens can carry a carload of their friends.
Throw in distractions like texting, on-board videos and lively conversation, and the chances of being involved in an accident increase. AAA says drivers who text while driving are 23 times more likely to get in crashes. One person in seven admits to text messaging while driving.