By Matt Schmitz on June 19, 2014
Statistically, some states are better than others for teen drivers: New York is the best; South Dakota is the worst. That's according to personal-finance website WalletHub.com, which conducted a study comparing state-by-state totals for elements such as teen driver fatalities, impaired-driving laws and average cost of car repairs. The Best & Worst States for Teen Drivers study ranks all 50 states, excluding the District of Columbia.
The study results come just in time for summer. Saturday marks the official first day of the warm-weather season, which in addition to being a fun time of beaches and backyard barbecues is also a particularly deadly time for teen drivers. On average, 260 teens are killed in car accidents each month between Memorial Day and Labor Day, compounded by the fact that young people are already at the highest risk for crashes of any age group at any other time, with thousands dying every year. Meanwhile, despite representing only 14 percent of the population, drivers age 15 to 24 account for about 30 percent of the total costs associated with car crashes.
"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," the website states. "After all, parents are the ones to shoulder both the emotional and financial burdens of their children's actions."
According to the study, the top five "best" states for young drivers are New York, Hawaii, Illinois, Oregon and Rhode Island. The bottom five, or "worst," states are South Dakota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Wyoming. In addition to New York and Illinois, the No. 3 and No. 5 most populous states in the U.S., respectively, California, which has the most residents, ranked 11th on the list, while Texas and Florida, which have the second and fourth largest populations, ranked 19th and 34th.
The top 10 "best" states for teen drivers are:
1. New York
5. Rhode Island
The 10 "worst" states for teen drivers are:
1. South Dakota
8. South Carolina
News Editor Matt Schmitz is a veteran Chicago journalist indulging his curiosity for all things auto while helping to inform car shoppers. Email Matt