As convenient and time-saving as driving is, it can still carry major risks for both the people inside the car and the people on the road. According to studies, it’s estimated that more than 38,000 people die every year in auto crashes in the United States. While most will assume that the driver is the responsible party, there can be special circumstances where a passenger in the vehicle could be held responsible for the car crash. Learn more about the responsibilities of the passengers and what factors can cause them to be liable for an accident below.
What is a Concert-Of-Action?
When a person’s actions result in the injuries of another, this can be considered a concert-of-action. This can be applied to car accidents where passengers are present in the vehicle. An example of this could be in which a passenger is encouraging a driver to act recklessly such as going over the speed limit, taking their eyes off the road to look at a picture or video, or racing. According to West Palm Beach car accident lawyer Brian LaBovick, car accidents can “…lead to a domino effect causing grief, more pain, emotional distress, lost wages and medical expenses.”
What is the Duty of a Passenger?
Whether you’re the driver or in the passenger seat, it’s important to understand what passenger duty entails. As a passenger, it’s your responsibility to maintain a duty of care to yourself and be aware of your surroundings. A passenger can not fully entrust their safety to the driver and must keep an eye out for their wellbeing.
How to Be a Responsible Passenger
There are many steps that a person can take in order to help provide a safe environment in the car and for the drivers around them. Being a responsible passenger includes:
- Wear your seatbelt and encourage others in the car to wear theirs.
- Assist the driver in answering their phone, giving directions, and change the radio station.
- Never let the driver operate the vehicle if they’re upset.
- Help keep children in the car calm and under control.
- Help navigate roads and make decisions when the weather is bad.
In many cases, drivers are usually the ones held responsible for the actions they take on the road. But passengers are also partially responsible for how cars function on the road. Whether you’re behind the wheel or seated as a passenger, encourage safe driving practices to protect yourself and those on the road.