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Massachusetts One of Safest States for Teen Drivers? Who Knew?

Parents of newly driving teens: take heart. We live in one of the “safest” states in the country for teen drivers. Who knew?

Parents of driving teens: take heart. While Massachusetts is notorious for its aggressive drivers, apparently it is one of the “safest” states in the country in terms of teen driving fatalities.

Who knew?

According to a recent study by Erie Insurance, Massachusetts' rate of fatal teen car crashes falls 22 percent below the national rate of 11.3 deaths per 100,000 people.

In fact, the “safest” five states (those reporting the lowest deaths per 100,000 people) were all on the Eastern seaboard: New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and Washington DC. The lowest rate was Washington D.C. with 1.7 teen driver deaths per 100,000 drivers. 

The five deadliest states? North Dakota (27.2 deaths per 100,000), Kentucky, South Dakota, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Arkansas.

This is not at all to negate the fact that car accidents still remain the number one cause of death among teens. But apparently rural states claim more teen lives than do urban ones.

Having driven I 95 from Massachusetts to Maryland, the Garden State Parkway, and the New Jersey Turnpike many times and seen my share of crazy drivers, I was frankly surprised at this news. I still have a hard time believing it.

For more information, check out CBS News, Deadliest states for teen drivers. Also, if you want to get your teen thinking about driving safer, a great site for resources and links is here.

What are your strategies for keeping your kids safe behind the wheel? Are you surprised that Massachusetts is the fourth safest state for teen driving? Do you think this is a result of less overall teen driving, more restrictions on teens, better driver’s education, or something else?

I’d love to hear your opinions and thoughts.

I’ll still be nervous when I get behind the wheel with my 16-year-old son for the first time, though.

Hey it’s a mom’s job.

Want to read more? Check out my blog at www.trishreske.com and follow me on Twitter @trishreske

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Amy Buttiglieri October 24, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Could being a "Massachusetts Driver" actually save lives? Interesting info, Trish! I wonder if our aggressive driving actually makes us more alert to what's going on around us? I also don't know what kind of driver's ed they have in the other states - but there seem to be a lot of hours needed behind the wheel in MA. Fortunately, I have another 3 years before the worry starts... ;-)
TBH October 24, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Make no mistake, the only reason MA is high on this list is due to the heavy fines that are in the books for speeding with a junior operator's license. A first time offender can easily face upwards to $700-800, not to mention losing their license for 90 days and having to go through the whole permitting process with additional training once again. Monetary incentives work as a deterrent, plain and simple.
Gary Kelley October 24, 2012 at 01:51 PM
My kids are in their 20s. Each one had an accident in their first couple years driving, ironically not caused by them. That said, I am reminded not every family is as fortunate, and as parents we must be vigilant. http://westborough.patch.com/blog_posts/alcohol-driving-and-kids
Trish Reske October 24, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Oh Amy, it will come sooner than you think :) I agree that the number of driver's ed hours is huge, along with all the limitations put on new drivers - NOTHING like when I got my license back in the day. The cost of driver's ed is very high here in Massachusetts. I actually had my now 21-year-old wait until he was 18 before he started driving. (I told him I'd rather give him the $850 than Christo. In retrospect, I wish he'd taken driver's ed.) Also the monthly insurance for him was over $200! These costs may encourage parents to delay the age when their kids begin driving... or do they?
Trish Reske October 24, 2012 at 02:38 PM
TBH, while I agree on this to a point, are the teens thinking about the monetary consequences when they get behind the wheel? Or are they in "teen brain" mode?These are fairly new laws that hit the parent's pocketbook, not the kids.
Trish Reske October 24, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Gary, wow, I can't imagine that kind of phone call. Thanks again for sharing this post you wrote - very emotional and important to read.
TBH October 24, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Trish, while I understand your point about the "teen brain mode," if you look at the stats before the increased fines were implemented to now, you can see that it has had an effect. If they take drivers's ed, this is hammered into them as well as the parents. Now there very well may be more teens that take driver's ed in this state vs. South Dakota, etc. which could also make a difference, but I don't think we can credit our aggressive Massachusetts driving to fewer accidents, haha.

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