When thinking of some of the most common and dangerous driver distractions, things like texting, grooming, and drowsy driving are often at the top of the list. One aspect that may not immediately come to mind: passengers. Yet, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), they're a contributing factor in more than half of all reported distracted driving accidents. With over 481,000 drivers using their cell phones every day while driving, adding a distracting passenger to the mix is a recipe for disaster.
Though adult passengers can be distracting, kids and babies really take the cake. A study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that young children are four times more distracting than adult passengers, while infants are a whopping eight times more distracting.
But what's the driving demographic most likely to be distracted by their passengers? Teenagers.
Statistics found that 60% of teen crashes involve driver distraction, many due to the passengers that are along for the ride.
In fact, according to statistics cited by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute, a teen driver's crash risk doubles when they have one teen passenger, and triples with two or more of their peers.
However, though it may be possible to prohibit your teenagers from driving their friends, for everyone else, no longer carrying passengers isn't a very realistic option. Fortunately, it isn't necessary.
While unruly passengers can be distracting, in many circumstances, passengers can also be an asset. A University of Utah study found that conscientious passengers can help keep drivers alert and, unlike people on the other end of a cell phone conversation who can't see the road, passengers know to pause the conversation when the situation demands. They can also help you avoid accidents by pointing out hazards you might have missed.
Also, although it may seem strange to use a passenger to prevent being distracted by other passengers, if you're traveling with kids, having an extra adult or teen in the car who can attend to the little ones' needs can be a lifesaver.
Injured in a Crash Caused by a Distracted Driver? We Can Help.
If you were hurt in an accident caused by a driver who was distracted by their passengers at the time of the crash, you may be entitled to compensation for medical costs, property damage, lost income, and other damages.
The experienced car accident injury attorneys of Neblett, Beard & Arsenault can help you build a strong case for financial recovery. Contact us online or call our Alexandria office directly at 318.588.6303 today to schedule your free consultation.