Hit the brakes: How safe is Pa. for teen drivers?


PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN – AUGUST 09: Two teenagers drive a luxury convertible car in the Portals Port on August 09, 2015 in Palma de Malorca, Spain. Puerto Portals is the most prestigious nautical and leisure complex of Mallorca. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)

(WTAJ) — The summer season isn’t only for warm weather and barbeques, it’s also a time where teenagers hit the roads with their new permits or driver’s licenses. Before you hand your teen the keys, keep these facts in mind and see where Pennsylvania lands among the safest states for teen driving.

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for United States teens. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 2,400 teens aged 13-19-years-old lost their lives in car crashes in 2019. That averages seven teenaged lives a day.

Also, teen drivers aged 16-19-years-old are three times as likely as drivers 20-years-old and older to be in a fatal car crash.

These statistics can be caused for a number of reasons. The most prominent being that in 2019, over 40% of United States high school students did not wear a seatbelt when riding in a car driven by someone else, according to the CDC.

In Pennsylvania, some key contributors to crashes involving teen drivers are driver inexperience, driver distractions, driving too fast for conditions and improper or careless turning, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).

Road conditions and state laws can also play an imperative role in teen driving. According to a study done by WalletHub, Pennsylvania ranks 24th in terms of conditions for teen driving. A breakdown of the commonwealth’s results can be seen below:

  • 1st in the presence of distracted-driving and texting while driving laws
  • 3rd in the provision of teen driver’s who graduated licensing program laws
  • 11th in Teen Driver Fatalities per 100,000 teens
  • 14th in Teen DUIs per 100,000 teens
  • 28th in the presence of occupant-protection laws
  • 35th in the presence of impaired-driving laws
  • 38th in the quality of roads

The top-three safest states for teen drivers were New York, Oregon and Connecticut respectively. To see a full list of nationwide results, visit the WalletHub study on their website.

For tips on how to keep your teen safe while driving in Pa., visit the PennDOT Young Driver website.

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