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 |  Feb 04 2012, 4:14 PM

Peer pressure has a huge affect on teens. Smoking, drinking… even getting into a car accident.

According to two studies by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm, peer pressure from passengers can result in a car accident when a teen is behind the wheel. We know, it seems like a “duh, of course” kind of conclusion… did we really need a study to tell us that? But what researchers can now prove with studies like these is how peer pressures increases a teen driver’s crash risk.

“These studies help us understand the factors that may predispose teens to drive with multiple friends and how those passengers may contribute to crashes by distracting the driver and promoting risky driving behaviors, such as speeding, tailgating or weaving,” said Allison Curry, a study author. “Knowing this, we can develop programs that work in tandem with current graduated driver licensing laws that limit the number of passengers for teens during their first year of driving.”

In the first study, researchers found that the teens drivers that were most likely to drive with multiple passengers considered themselves thrill seekers and shared similar characteristics that would increase the likelihood of a car accident. The second study looked at teens involved in serious crashes, and drivers that had peer passengers were more likely to be distracted just before a crash.

In terms of male and female peer pressure driving habits, males that drove with passengers were about six times more likely to impress their friends by pulling illegal driving stunts and were twice as likely to drive aggressively just before a crash. Females, on the other hand, hardly ever drive aggressively prior to a crash – and that’s with or without passengers.

[Source: Autos.ca]