Alabama ranked Top 10 worst states for teen drivers

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 27, 2019

Alabama ranks 40th worst state for teen drivers, according to a national study.

The information released on Wednesday by WalletHub places Alabama near the bottom.

To determine the best and worst states for teen drivers, WalletHub analyzed the teen-driving environment in the 50 states across three dimensions: Safety, economic development and driving laws.

The study acknowledges that getting a driver’s license in America is a rite of passage for teenagers, but it can also be a death sentence for thousands of teens each year.
Statistics show that motor-vehicle accidents continue to be the leading cause of death among the population aged 16 to 19.

Alabama tied Wyoming in most teen driving fatalities per teen population.

Dr. Alisa H. Walch of the University of Texas at Austin provided tips for parents of teen drivers.

“Talk to your kids about the responsibilities and risks that go along with the freedom of driving,” she said. “Start talking to them long before they’re old enough to drive.”

Walch suggests parents utilize the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website on teen driving for better understanding of the risks and what parents can do to mitigate the risks.

Walch also cautioned parents to model good driving habits when kids are in the car with you.

“If they see you on your cell phone while you’re driving, they’re going to think it’s fine for them to be on their cell phone while they’re driving,” she said. “During their student driving, have your kids drive multiple locations at different times of day and under different weather conditions. You want their student driving to model what driving will be like when they have their license. It’s much better for their first time to drive in rain at night to be with you in the car than by themselves.”

In Alabama, there is a graduated driver’s license law that had three stages: learner’s permit, restricted license and unrestricted license.

A driver with a restricted license (16-year-old drivers and 17-year-old driver’s licensed for less than six months) have restrictions such as:

  • Not being allowed to have more than one non-family passenger other than the parent, guardian or supervising licensed driver at least 21 years of age;
  • Operate a vehicle between midnight and 6 a.m., unless:
  • Accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
  • Accompanied by a licensed adult 21 years of age or older with parental consent.
  • Going to or from their regular place of work.
  • Going to or from a school-sponsored event.
  • Going to or from a religious-sponsored event.
  • Driving due to a medical, fire, or law enforcement emergency.
  • Driving to or from hunting/fishing activities in possession of required licenses.
  • Drive while operating any non-essential handheld communication deice.

According to information from the Alabama Department of Public Heath, U.S. drivers ages 16-19 are twice as likely to crash as 20-24-year-olds.

  • In 2016, there were 2,288 motor vehicle traffic fatalities in crashes that involved passenger vehicle teen drivers aged 15 to 18 years old.
  • In 2016, there were 2,082 teen drivers of passenger vehicles involved in fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes.
  • In 2016, 58 percent of all passenger fatalities of 15- to 18-year-old passenger vehicle drivers were unrestrained.
  • In 2016, speeding was a factor in 31 percent of the teen drivers involved in fatal crashes.
  • In 2016, almost 20 percent of the teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were drinking.
  • In 2016, 10 percent of fatal crashes involved a teen driver distracted at the time of the crash.