Teen Driving Risks

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POSTED: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 - 5:00pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 - 5:14pm

A new study by the Foundation for Traffic Safety finds the risk of fatal accidents skyrockets when teens drive with passengers under the age of 21.

"When two passengers are in the car, the risk actually doubles and when there are more passengers in the car, the risk quadruples," says AAA's Peter Kissinger.

When someone over age 35 is on board the risk drops 62 percent.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says it's time for peer pressure.

"When you're in a car with a friend and you see them with that cell phone in their ear or the texting device, you ask them to put it away," he urges.

17-year-old Elliot Johnson got behind the wheel as soon as it was legal in his home state of South Dakota.

"Thinking about it now it's scary knowing I started driving at 14. Back then I thought was empowerment," he now says.

He realizes he put himself and his friends at risk and now he's driving home the message about how deadly distracted driving can be.

The number of teens killed in auto accidents traditionally spikes during the summer, with an average of 422 fatalities a month.

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