Last December, Pennsylvania's new teen driver laws went into effect. Included in these laws is a provision that limits the number of passengers a teen driver can have in their car when they first obtain their license. These new laws come as study after study demonstrates the risks of distracted driving, especially among young drivers.
Two new studies published in the Journal of Adolescent Health identify which teens are likely to drive with friends and how extra passengers can impair their driving before a car accident. The first study, conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Prevention, surveyed almost 200 teen drivers. The survey found that that those teens most likely to drive with several passengers have thrill-seeking personalities and a poor understanding of the risks associated with driving. Fortunately, the study also shows that these teens are in the minority and most young drivers are familiar with the inherent risks of driving.
The second study, done by State Farm insurance, analyzed nearly 700 serious crashes involving teen drivers. It found that a majority of both male and female drivers were distracted by passengers prior to their car accident. Additionally, males with passengers were six times more likely to make an illegal maneuver and twice as likely to drive aggressively before a crash.
In Pennsylvania, teens with a junior license cannot have more than one passenger under age 18. However, if they are not in an accident for six months, they will then be allowed to carry up to three passengers.