Many North Carolina drivers are wary of cars full of teens. They may believe that these drivers are more likely to be careless or distracted. While some of these ideas are based on stereotypes about teen drivers, they may also be backed up by reality. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a study for National Teen Driver Safety Week showing that when teen drivers have only teen passengers in their vehicles, the fatality rate for everyone involved in a car accident can rise by 51 percent.

The risk can often be the greatest for people in other cars involved in a crash with a car full of teens. Passengers and drivers in other vehicles were 56 percent more likely to be fatally injured as the result of such a motor vehicle accident. Pedestrians and cyclists were also 17 percent more likely to lose their lives while the teen drivers themselves were 45 percent more likely to die. On the other hand, when at least one passenger age 35 or older was riding with a teen driver, the fatality rate in car accidents declined by 8 percent.

In 2016, over 1 million car accidents involving teen drivers took place across the country; these crashes took over 3,200 lives. There were other factors linked to increased fatality rates, including driving at night or speeding. AAA researchers said the results indicated that teen drivers would benefit from more supervised hours of driving with an adult presence in the car.

Car accidents can be devastating regardless of the age of the driver at fault. Dangerous or distracted drivers can cause serious injuries or permanent disabilities. People who have been injured in a crash due to someone else’s negligence may work with a personal injury lawyer to seek compensation for their damages, including medical bills and lost wages.