Windsor, Ontario – Older drivers are more likely to drive responsibly when they have passengers in the car than younger drivers, according to a University of Windsor researcher.

Chris Lee, an assistant professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering, said drivers aged 16 to 24 who are driving with more than one passenger the same age or younger are more likely to be involved in single-vehicle crashes in light traffic. The findings were recently published in the academic journal Accident Analysis and Prevention.

“Older drivers with passengers are more likely to exhibit safer driving habits and are less likely to cause accidents,” Lee said. “This clearly supports the idea that if young drivers are going to have passengers in their car, they should be relatively older drivers with more experience.”

Lee determined that drivers over 24 who have passengers in the car are more likely to wear seatbelts and less likely to use alcohol before driving. He concluded that younger drivers tend to be careless and display unsafe driving habits when accompanied by their peers, and are more likely to speed and be intoxicated. He suggested that the graduated licensing program and greater education on the risks of speeding and aggressive driving for younger drivers is an effective way of reducing vehicle crashes for drivers in this age group.

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