Wyoming, Montana, Mississippi, West Virginia, Arkansas and Alabama have the highest death rates when teens are driving, while the District of Columbia, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Jersey have the lowest rate of deaths involving teen drivers.
That’s according to a new analysis of government data by Erie Insurance along with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
According to the IIHS, nearly 18,000 teens in the U.S. ages 16 to 19 died in car accidents from 2006 to 2010. In fact the fatal crash rate for 16 to 19 year olds in the U.S. is nearly three times the rate for drivers ages 20 and older.
Erie Insurance is trying to reduce the teen death rate with Shift, a driver safety program designed for teens to share good driving tips and experiences and warn their peers of bad driving behavior. The program includes a contest to award $20,000 in cash prizes to teens and their schools for sharing the safe-driving message. The contest is open to teens in the 11 states and the District of Columbia where Erie Insurance has operations. Teens earn points by doing things like signing a safe-driver pledge, creating and voting on safe-driver videos, and sharing safe-driving messages with their peers. The teens with the most points are awarded cash prizes for themselves and their schools. Schools with the highest points average at the end of the contest will also earn cash prizes.
“Inexperience combined with a never ending list of distractions can add up to a deadly combination for teen drivers,” said Karen Kraus Phillips, vice president at Erie Insurance. “Our goal is to reduce the high number of teen injuries and deaths that happen on the road every year. We think we’ve found an engaging way for teens to spread the word about protecting themselves on the road.”
To see a complete ranking of all states and learn about the safety program, visit here.