AUSTIN -- A new study released by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute shows a disturbing trend among teen drivers.
Thursday morning at the State Capitol, the group released the report titled "Are teens safer on the road than they were ten years ago?" – Yes, and no.
The results show young teens are at a greater risk of being involved in a fatal crash if passengers are in the car with them. Of those involved in fatal crashes, researchers say the teen drivers were five times more likely to have had one passenger with them and nearly eight times more likely to have had two or more passengers.
The risk went up despite relatively recent laws that limit how many passengers first-time drivers can have. Experts contribute both inexperience and brain development for the increased risk. The study showed that the risk dropped drastically once teens had a few years of experience behind the wheel.
It compared younger teens between 15 and 17 years old to young adults between 18 and 24. Leaders of a group called “Teens in the Driver Seat” joined researchers and state transportation leaders to reveal the numbers.
The program uses peer influence to relate to teen drivers. Researchers say it has helped. Since launching the actual number of crashes has been going down. According to the report, it's dropped drastically: 60 percent across the nation and 68 percent in Texas.