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Which States Are Sweet and Which Ones Suck for Teen Drivers?



    Getting a driver's license is a big milestone in a teen's life, but with the resulting freedom comes a lot of risk. Motor vehicle accidents remain the leading cause of death for teens age 16 to 19, mostly because of driver inexperience. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, six teens die every day from motor vehicle injuries.

    Related: Tips for Keeping Teen Drivers Safe

    Teen driving accidents aren't only dangerous, they're expensive. Young people between 15 and 19 years old represented 7 percent of the U.S. population in 2013, but they accounted for 11 percent of the total cost of traffic injuries.

    Personal-finance website WalletHub analyzed teen driving environments across the country using metrics such as driving laws, seat belt use and teen intoxicated driving to rank all 50 states by the best for teen drivers' safety and their parents' wallets.

    The "best" states for teen drivers (No. 1 being the best) are:

    25. Michigan

    24. Alaska

    23. Kentucky

    22. Colorado

    21. Kansas

    20. Tennessee

    19. Rhode Island

    18. Minnesota

    17. North Carolina

    16. Georgia

    15. Maine

    14. West Virginia

    13. New Jersey

    12. Massachusetts

    11. Connecticut

    10. Texas

    9. Hawaii

    8. California

    7. Oregon

    6. Louisiana

    5. Delaware

    4. Illinois

    3. Maryland

    2. Washington

    1. New York

    The "worst" states for teen drivers (with No. 1 being the worst) are:

    25. Indiana

    24. Utah

    23. Virginia

    22. Nevada

    21. New Mexico

    20. Florida

    19. South Carolina

    18. Ohio

    17. Iowa

    16. Vermont

    15. Arkansas

    14. Wisconsin

    13. Oklahoma

    12. Pennsylvania

    11. New Hampshire

    10. Arizona

    9. Alabama

    8. Mississippi

    7. Idaho

    6. North Dakota

    5. Nebraska

    4. Missouri

    3. Montana

    2. South Dakota

    1. Wyoming

    The good news is that teen motor vehicle crashes are often preventable. According to the CDC, proven ways to help keep young drivers safe on the road include enforcing zero-tolerance blood-alcohol laws for drivers younger than 21, graduated driver-licensing programs and enforcing seat belt laws. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, of the teenagers who died in passenger vehicle crashes in 2016, at least 48 percent were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.

    Other key findings from the WalletHub study:

    • Vermont, Rhode Island and New York had the fewest teen driver fatalities per teen population, while Wyoming, Alabama and Mississippi saw the most.
    • South Dakota, Utah and Nebraska all tied for most teen DUIs per teen population.
    • Michigan and Maine had the cheapest average cost for car repairs. Connecticut and Rhode Island on average had the most expensive repairs.

    Cars.com's Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com's long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don't accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com's advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.



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