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Passengers increase the risk of accident for teen drivers

Parents of teen drivers in Georgia would be wise to prohibit their children from driving with passengers in their car. According to USA Today, a study of 16 to 17-year old drivers found that not only did the presence of passengers in the teens' cars increase the risk of being in an accident, the risk actually increased further proportional to the number of passengers in the car.

The study found that when a teen driver had three or more passengers under the age of 21 riding in the vehicle, he or she was four times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash. Two passengers under the age of 21 doubled the risk, and just one passenger in the car increased the risk of a fatal accident by 44 percent. On the other hand, having a passenger in the car who is over the age of 35 actually decreased a teen's chances of being in a crash by 46 percent and the chances of fatality by 62 percent.

In response to these facts many states, including Georgia, have restricted the ability of teen drivers to carry passengers by instituting a graduated license policy. The Georgia Department of Driver Services issues a Class D license to drivers age 16 and up once they have completed a driver education course and have 40 hours of supervised driving under their belt.

Holders of a Class D license are not only restricted as to the hours they can drive, they are also restricted when it comes to passengers. For the first six months, the only passengers a teen may have are immediate family members. For the following six months, one passenger under the age of 21 is permitted. It is only after one year of driving experience that a teen is able to have three passengers under the age of 21. Once a driver turns 18, he or she can apply for a Class C license, which does not carry any passenger restrictions.

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