The young drivers were less likely to use cell phones and other technology — including in-vehicle systems such as sound systems and temperature control — when they had passengers with them.

The risk of a serious incident — such as having to take evasive action to avoid a crash — was six times higher when the teen drivers had passengers who were talking loudly and three times higher when passengers were horsing around.

The researchers also found that driver actions, such as texting, using a cell phone, eating and reaching for things, appeared less likely to cause a serious incident than passengers’ behavior, according to the study published online April 17 in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

“This is why the limit of one teen passenger is important when teens are just learning to drive,” Foss said.

Phones Or Friends: Which One Hurts Teen Drivers More?  was originally published on

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