Study: Teen Car Crash Deaths Vary by State

October 1, 2012

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (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 worked with IIHS to conduct an exclusive analysis of crash data from the U.S. Department of Transportation to show how states compare in terms of the relative danger of car accident deaths when teens are behind the wheel.

The analysis found that Wyoming, Montana, Mississippi, West Virginia, Arkansas and Alabama had the highest death rates when teens were driving, while the District of Columbia, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Jersey had the lowest rate of deaths involving teen drivers.

Check out the interactive map for a complete ranking of all states, go to

Erie Insurance is taking steps 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.

“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.”

IIHS notes that state graduated driver licensing laws (GDL) have helped reduce teen crash rates significantly in recent years, but these laws vary in strength. Research shows that every state could reduce its teen crash rate by adopting stronger GDL laws.

SOURCE: Erie Insurance

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