New study says Georgia ranks #15 for teen driver safety

New study says Georgia ranks #15 for teen driver safety

Getting a license to drive is a rite of passage and the first step towards independence and adulthood. During the hot, lazy days of summer, more teens get their first driver’s license than any other time during the year. The summertime is also referred to as the “100 Deadliest Days” because an average of 220 young drivers lose their lives each month from June-August. On June 22, Wallethub, a personal finance website, released its 2016 list of Best and Worst States for Teen Drivers. The good news is that Georgia falls in the top 30% in the nation. However, 14 other states are better than the Peach State when it comes to teen driving.

More teens between the ages of 16-19 are killed in car crashes than by disease, suicide and homicide combined. Although 15- to 24-year-olds make up only 14% of the population, they cause 33.3% of all accidents. As temperatures continue to soar, it’s time to face the fact that more teen drivers are newly minted during the summer, one of the most dangerous times of the year for teen drivers.

For the new study, Wallethub analyzed the teen driving environments in each of the 50 states using 16 different metrics to compare data. Three key metrics included “Safety Conditions,” “Economic Environment,” and “Driving Laws.” Overall, Georgia ranked 15th in the country. It also ranked 15th for “Safety Conditions,” 23rd for “Economic Environment,” and 16th for “Driving Laws.” New York came in first place, while at the opposite end of the spectrum, South Dakota ranked dead last in 50th place.

The states with the fewest teen driver fatalities per teen population are Delaware, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California. The states with the most teen driver fatalities include West Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Wyoming.

To help keep teens safe on the road this summer, Drive Smart Georgia offers these driving tips for teen drivers and their concerned parents.

  • More time behind the wheel – Teen drivers average 44% more hours behind the wheel each week during the summer (23.6 hours) than during the school year (16.4 hours). Do not hesitate to limit their driving until you as a parent are comfortable with cutting them loose.
  • “Piling In” – 23% of teen drivers are more likely to drive with three or more teens in the car in the summer, compared to 6% who are more likely to do so during the school year. This sky rockets the chance of your young person having an accident by more than 40% with just one passenger being in the car with them. There is nothing wrong with extending the 6-month law that enforces a Georgia teen driver cannot have anyone in the car until six months have passed.
  • Put Down the Phone – 16% of all teen drivers involved in fatal crashes are distracted. Texting or talking on the phone – combined with the inexperience of a new driver is a recipe for disaster. Set the ground rules early about using phones in the car and be sure to enforce consequences.
  • Later Nights – 72% of all teens report that they stay out later during the summer than during the school year. Additionally, 47% of teen drivers are more likely to drive late at night during the summer, compared to 6% who are more likely to drive late at night during the school year. Again, just because they are eligible to stay out late at night does not mean they have to!
  • Heavy Eyelids – 24% of teen drivers are more likely to drive when tired or sleepy during the summer, compared to 9% who are more likely to drive fatigued during the school year. Make sure your teen is well-rested before getting behind the wheel this summer.

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