Teen drivers in Montana come in first in the country for teen driving fatalities; they are also near the top in DUIs per 100,000 teens, and for violating distracted driving or texting while driving laws.
In other words, according to the Wallet Hub financial website, Montana is the worst state in the nation for teen drivers.
KGVO reached out to Wallet Hub executive John Kiernan for the sad details of the study that was just released on Tuesday.
“We looked at the best and worst states for teen drivers,” said Kiernan. “We looked at all 50 states based on a collection of 23 metrics broken down into three groups. Those were safety, the economic environment, and the state's driving laws. The biggest thing that held Montana back is that Montana ranked 50th overall. I know it’s not what the people in the state want to hear. That means Montana is the worst state for teen drivers.”
Kiernan said the vast distances teens drive in Montana contribute to the dismal safety numbers.
“Montana ranks 49th in the country in terms of teen driver fatalities per 100,000 teens,” he said. “That's particularly problematic because drivers in the state travel a lot of miles per capita, and then the state also ranks in the 40s (45th) in terms of the number of teen drivers who get traffic violations while driving under the influence.”
Kiernan said many teens don’t wear seatbelts, which also drives the safety numbers down.
“The state also doesn't rank great in terms of the share of teenagers who always wear the seat belt, or the costs related to teen auto deaths,” he said. “So the overall safety component doesn't look great for the state. It's partly, I guess, due to a lower population. Some of these per capita numbers don't turn out as favorably for the state. I think it's also important to note that Montana is not alone in these areas.”
Other rural states scored similarly low numbers, such as North and South Dakota, Missouri, and Wyoming.
The lone bright spot for Montana in the study? It’s less expensive to add your teen driver to your own policy in Montana than in almost every other state.
“That's actually a bright spot for Montana, the premium for adding the teen driver to a parent's auto insurance policy, which is a lot cheaper than the team getting a policy on their own,” he said. “The premium in Montana is a lot lower than most other states. So Montana ranks second in that regard with only a 39 percent increase on average. So it's definitely a good thing for parents to get their teen drivers on their own policy. They'll save more money overall, and you can keep a better eye on what your teen is doing if they're on your auto policy as well.”
The best ranking states overall were New York, Washington State, Illinois, Maryland, and Oregon.