According to new statistics released by the Erie Insurance Company along with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Mississippi teen driver deaths were far above the national average at 32.3 deaths per 100,000 people. The same bad news can be found in neighboring Alabama, which saw a teen driver death rate of 31.2 per 100,000 people.
The driving statistics also revealed that Saturday is the most dangerous day for teen drivers to be on the road in the South. The statistics showed that May is the deadliest month for teen drivers in Mississippi. The reason given by researchers is the huge number of teen drivers out on the roads thanks to school stopping for the summer.
The news was bad for Mississippi families given that the state ranked third on the list of most dangerous states for young drivers. The difference is stark, with a national teen driver death rate of 16.2 per 100,000 people. That means that Mississippi has nearly double the risk of teen driver death than the average state.
The study found that between 2006 and 2010 an astounding 18,000 teens between the ages of 16 and 19 died across the country in car accidents. This age group is hugely more likely to be involved in a deadly crash, with a fatal crash rate nearly three times greater than drivers 20 and older. Risk is highest at ages 16-17. In fact, the fatal crash rate per mile driven is nearly twice as high for 16-17 year-olds as it is for 18-19 year-olds.
Wyoming ranked as the deadliest state for teen drivers followed closely by Montana. The safest states were the District of Columbia, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Jersey.
Beginning in the mid 1990s, more and more states began adopting graduated licensing systems, which phase in full driving privileges. In states that have adopted graduated licensing systems, the crash rates among teenage drivers have declined about 10-30 percent. National studies of graduated licensing laws have found that laws the Institute rated good were associated with substantially lower fatal crash rates among teen drivers, and substantially lower insurance claim rates, than laws rated poor. Strong restrictions on nighttime driving and teen passengers, as well as delayed licensing age, also reduced rates of fatal crashes and insurance collision claims.
Source: “Alabama, Mississippi near top of the country for teen driving deaths,” by Debbie Lord, published at AL.com.
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