Motorists have long known that teens driving with a teen passenger face an increased risk of a fatal auto crash. A new study released by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety in May 2012 specifically quantifies the relationship between the number of and ages of, passengers relative to teen crash risk per mile. In doing so, the study also reveals and quantifies a method to reduce teen crash risk: carrying an adult passenger. In light of the study, Oregon laws on teen driving may need updating.

The new AAA study is based on teen driver crash data from crashes from 2007-2010. The study concluded that risk of teen fatality:

  • Increases 44% with ONE passenger under 21;
  • Doubles with TWO passengers under 21;
  • Quadruples with THREE or more passengers under 21;

On the bright side, the study concludes that risk of teen driving accident is reduced when an adult passenger is present. For example the study found:

  • 62% decreased risk of fatality with a passenger 35 years or older;
  • 42% decreased risk of ANY police reported crash with a passenger 35 years or older.

Oregon law limits drivers under age 18 to a provisional license. During the first 6 months of a provisional license, Oregon law prohibits a teen from driving with a passenger under the age of 20 who is not a member of the teen’s immediate family and prohibits driving between midnight and 5am without a licensed passenger under 25 unless commuting to school or work. During the second six months of a provisional license, Oregon law prohibits driving with 3 or more non-family member passengers under the age of 20 unless commuting to school or work.

The new AAA study suggests Oregon law may need updating. If you are interested in legislative changes to Oregon teen driving laws, contact Richard Rizk at rich@rizklaw.com or (503) 245-5677. He will help you present your concerns to the appropriate lawmakers.