June is National Safety Month, making it as good a time as any to focus on teen-driver safety. According to the National Safety Council, car crashes are the No. 1 cause of death among teens, primarily due to the inexperience of newly licensed motorists.
In addition to the tragic loss of life, drivers ages 15 to 19 account for 11 percent of all costs resulting from car crashes — despite comprising just 7 percent of the U.S. population, according to personal-finance website WalletHub.com, citing figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With the goal of highlighting safety and financial security, WalletHub analyzed and ranked all 50 states for their teen-driver friendliness considering factors such as fatality figures, average repair costs and DUI laws.
The best states for teen drivers are:
9. New Jersey
1. New York
On the other end of the safety spectrum, the worst states for teen drivers are:
4. South Dakota
3. North Dakota
"Graduated driver licensing systems are proven to reduce crashes involving teen drivers by as much as 40 percent, minimizing common risks such as passenger distraction, nighttime driving and cell phone use," the NSC stated.
According to the WalletHub study, the states with the best GDL provisions are Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island. The worst, researchers concluded, are Alabama, Arizona, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, Virginia and Wyoming.
Other key findings from the WalletHub study include:
- Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey have the lowest teen-driver death rates, while Montana, Mississippi and North Dakota have the highest.
- Concerning teen DUI incidents, Illinois, Delaware and Ohio boast the fewest, while Wyoming, South Dakota and North Dakota have the highest.
- Hawaii, New York and North Carolina offer the lowest auto-insurance premium increase when parents add a teen to their policy, while New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Arizona's increases are the highest.
- The cost of car repairs is lowest in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, and highest in California, Wyoming and Maryland.