2014’s Best and Worst States for Teen Drivers
In American culture, getting a driver’s license at 16 is considered a rite of passage. But lately, it has grown from an exciting stage of growth to a death sentence for thousands of teens every year. Motor vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 16 and 19 — they have the highest crash rate of any age group.
In addition, the financial implications of those statistics are staggering. Although young people aged 15 to 24 represent only 14 percent of the population, they account for about 30 percent of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries. That’s not counting auto maintenance, high insurance premiums, possible traffic citations and other vehicular incidents that can rack up expensive costs over time.
Looking ahead at the summer season, it is prudent to reflect on the fact that more teens will be obtaining their licenses during this time, when an average of 260 teens are killed in car accidents each month. More than ever, it is imperative to take precautionary measures to ensure teens’ safety behind the wheel.
Using 16 key metrics, WalletHub has identified the Best & Worst States for Teen Drivers. We took a close examination of various elements — ranging from the average cost of car repairs and the number of teen drivers in each state to impaired-driving laws and teen driver fatalities. By doing so, we aim to equip parents and other concerned adults with facts that will help them safeguard against unforeseeable events when their teens are on the road. After all, parents are the ones to shoulder both the emotional and financial burdens of their children’s actions. Check out the Methodology section below for more detailed information on how we ranked each state.
Safety Conditions Rank
Economic Environment Rank
Driving Laws Rank
As we’ve observed, teen driving can impose a heavy burden on the consciences as well as the finances of the adults who are ultimately responsible for their children’s actions. We approached this particular study with those adults in mind and considered the vulnerability of teen drivers during summer months. Using 16 key metrics, WalletHub compared the Best & Worst States for Teen Drivers and examined the 1) Safety Conditions, 2) Economic Environment and 3) Driving Laws that affect the overall driving conditions in each of the 50 states.
You can check out the metrics as well as the corresponding weights we used to construct our overall rankings below. The three categories under which the metrics are listed were used for organizational purposes only and did not factor in to our overall rankings.
- Percent of Teen Population with Driver's Licenses: 1
- Teen Drivers as a Percent of Total Drivers: 1
- Vehicle Miles Traveled per Capita: 1
- Teen Driver Fatalities per Licensed Teen Drivers: 1
- Number of Teen “Under the Influence” Traffic Violations per Licensed Teen Drivers(based on number of arrests): 1
- Quality of Roads: 1
- Maximum Value of Speed Ticket: 0.5
- Maximum Value of Red Light Ticket: 0.5
- Maximum First Offense Fines for not Wearing a Seat Belt: 0.5
- Average Cost of Car Repairs: 1
- Premium Increase after Adding a Teen Driver to your Auto Insurance Policy: 1
- Teen Driver's Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Program Laws: 1
- Occupant Protection Laws: 1
- Impaired Driving Laws: 1
- Distracted-Driving/Texting-While-Driving Laws: 1
- Red Light and Speeding Camera Laws: 0.5
Source: Data used to create these rankings is courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, TRIP, CarMD, InsuranceQuotes.com and the Governors Highway Safety Association.