WASHINGTON -- A new study finds a teenage driver's risk of dying in an accident increases dramatically when there are other teens in the car.
The study by AAA's Foundation for Traffic Safety finds that, compared to driving alone, a 16- or 17-year-old driver's risk of death increases 44 percent when carrying one passenger younger than 21 and no older passengers. The risk is double with two young passengers and four times as great with three or more.
But the researchers also find that the risk plummets by 62 percent when there's an adult watching the teen.
Researchers have long known that the presence of other teens is distracting to novice drivers and state driving laws began changing in the mid-1990s. Since then, every state has adopted a "graduated licensing" law that places restrictions on teen drivers, such as not allowing teens to drive with passengers under age 21. Other typical restrictions include limiting the number of young passengers to and barring nighttime driving.