A recent study found that 15 to 17-year-old drivers are just shy of eight times as likely to be involved in a fatal collision when carrying two or more teen passengers. The study looked that national traffic data that showed a 30% rise in deaths when other teens were present in the vehicle. However, this data covered the same period of time that texting while driving rose rapidly. The author of the study admitted that the texting factor could explain the rise in teen traffic fatalities. However, there is enough evidence to suspect that having fellow team passengers is a distraction contributing to increased traffic fatalities.
Here is something else to think about. The study concluded that novice drivers, which are those between 15 and 17 years old, are at a distinct disadvantage, not just because they are inexperienced drivers, but because their brain is not fully developed. The prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is responsible for weighing the consequences of risky behavior, is the last part of the brain to develop. So, the lesson here is that new drivers are not only distracted, but they are probably going to take a risk that an older driver would not.
Sometimes, the studies do nothing more than state the obvious. However, it is sobering evidence for parents of young drivers.