Wallethub recently named the State of New York as the state with the safest teen drivers.
The study focused on 16 unique metrics within three categories. Those were Economic Environment, Driving Laws, and Safety Conditions. All 50 states were ranked using the same criteria. The state of New York led the nation in both driving laws and safety conditions.
Unique facts about New York that helped it to place first in the teen driver category was the fact that among all 50 states, New York had the third fewest teen drivers. As a means to substantiate this fact, we can look at data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which shows that teens with less driving skills, and who are immature can increase the risk of fatal accidents. Having fewer teen drivers reduces the risk of unsafe driving by teens as a group. The only state to outperform New York was Hawaii, and it only did so in the Safety Conditions category. Hawaiian teens committed fewer DUI crimes and had a significantly smaller population of drivers.
As the list unfolds, South Dakota picked up the 48th spot and came in last despite having a stellar performance in Economic Environment. This means that South Dakota ranked well in car insurance rates and automobile repairs. Lower insurance rates and cheaper repair rates are two factors that may lead to higher teen injuries and fatal accidents.
As far as teen health is concerned, automobile fatalities are the primary cause of teen deaths. When you look at data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, it is clear that summer driving is the worst time of year for teens. It is also a time when more teens are killed in motor vehicle accidents. Statistics for teen deaths attributed to automobile accidents averages 235 per month. The same data shows a spike for June and July of 279 and 290. A statistic that some states, like New York are trying to reduce. Summer months account for as much as 27% of teen fatalities, and that makes June and July two months that states can focus on to reduce the teen death rate.
Education Is Half Of The Battle
Understanding that summer driving is a greater risk allows parents to become involved in how their teen drives. The American Automobile Association (AAA) studies driving habits. Their data shows that despite the best of intention from parents, most do not allow their teen to drive during adverse conditions. This may be part of the problem with summer driving fatalities. Teens may face situations that they are not prepared to handle, such as heavy traffic and changing driving conditions. The more practice parents can give their teen drivers the better prepared those drivers are when they are driving alone.
Not every teenager is ready for a license when they turn 16. It is okay to wait until they show enough maturity to be a responsible driver. Data suggests that holding off getting a drivers license may be the right thing to do. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control show that by age 20, drivers are 300% less likely to be involved in an auto accident with fatalities.
Tune in with Technology
Part of being a responsible parent may include monitoring your teens driving behaviors when you are not in the car. Apps such as Driver Safe Mode help to prevent distracted driving. There are devices that will report data such as speed, braking and acceleration and other basic data. These devices allow you to measure your child’s readiness for driving. It is far better to be overly protective than it is to mourn the loss of a teen driver.