Laterals are more risky because of the nature of the rules. There's no incomplete lateral, the ball hits the ground it is a fumble. Pass interference rules don't apply, so the defender could hit the person trying to catch a lateral before the ball arrives. A player attempting a forward pass has more protection than someone attempting a lateral because they've declared themselves as a runner. You're no longer considered to be in a defenseless position.
In college, most triple option teams (those that lateral a lot) tend to lead the NCAA in rushing each season. 2014: Georgia Tech, Navy, Army, Airforce, Georgia Southern (converted to spread but runs the option) are all in the top 10 for team rushing.
I'm not sure the typical option play where it is fairly controlled who will be doing the lateraling (usually the QB) and under what circumstances (a targeted defender who is left unblocked) the ball is pitched/lateraled. Also, if you designate players to be behind the ball carrier, they're no longer blocking. It can be difficult to make the right choice and accurate lateral in a freelancing situation. I definitely wouldn't recommend it when running into the line because having so many defenders there, it is easier to disrupt the play from many angles.