While texting and talking on a cell phone is hazardous for young drivers, old-fashioned distractions such as loud conversations and rowdy passengers also increase risks for teen drivers, according to a new study.
Teen drivers in the study were six times more likely to have a serious driving incident -- such as a collision, near collision, or loss of control -- when there was a loud conversation in the car, compared to when there were no loud conversations.
And teens were about twice as likely to need to stop or slow the car quickly (hard braking) when there were rowdy passengers, compared to when there were no rowdy passengers, the study found.
The findings underscore the importance of laws in many states that prohibit newly licensed drivers from having more than one young passenger in the car, said study researcher Robert Foss, of the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center. Such laws "increase the safety of drivers, their passengers and others on the road by reducing the potential chaos that novice drivers experience," Fosssaid in a statement.
The study was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.