More teenagers, more danger

The study conducted by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and published online last week in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention proves that teenagers drive a car more dangerously if they have another teenager sitting in the passenger seat.

The risk-taking is greatest when teenage drivers of either sex are accompanied by a teenage boy, said researchers who carried out detailed observations near 10 high schools in suburban Washington.

According to observers stationed a quarter- to a half-mile away from school parking lots, fully a quarter of all teenage drivers they spotted with a male passenger exceeded the speed limit by at least 15 mph, Washington Post says.

Of the teenage boys who were observed driving dangerously, one in every five had a male passenger, but only one in 20 had a female. Overall, 14.9 percent of teenage boys and 13.1 percent of teenage girls were seen driving dangerously, which included speeding and tailgating.

Researchers from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development published their results last week online in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention.

The researchers noted that while teenage boys tended to become slightly safer drivers in the presence of a female companion, teenage girls took more risks when accompanied by either male or female passengers.

"The most surprising finding is that females would have a moderating effect on male teen driving," lead researcher Bruce G. Simons-Morton was quoted as saying by Washington Post.

After receiving his license yesterday at the DMV office in Amityville, new driver Greg Stevens, 17, of Massapequa said the study would not stop him from driving with his friends.

"I think I'm a safe driver," he was quoted as saying by Newsday. "I'm not going to crash."

His father, Rob, said he had talked to his son about not driving with other teens in the car. "But," Rob Stevens said, "I can't follow him around, either. I hope he does the right thing."

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