Drunken driving leads to more accidents, and it's a problem among teens even though they are not at the legal drinking age yet.
GHSA estimates that 10 percent of young teens and 20 percent of older teens involved in fatal crashes had blood alcohol levels of .01 percent of higher. This is especially a problem for males. GHSA said male teens were twice as lightly to have a blood alcohol level of .08 percent than teen females. Teen males are also less likely to wear a seatbelt.
"Teen males can be a hard group to reach, but the report cites evidence that one of the best ways to message this audience is through key influencers like musicians and athletes," says Macek.
Here's how states rank regarding percentage of high school students age 16 and over who reported drinking and driving in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey.
Percentage of teen drivers drinking by state
|State||% drinking and driving|
Texting and driving
While drunken driving and seatbelt use are a bigger issue for male teens, female teens are more apt to drive while being distracted. This could include using a cell phone, texting, or talking to other people in the car.
"Getting teens to stop driving distracted is part of a larger cultural shift that needs to happen to get people to put their phones down and focus on driving," says Macek.
Macek says one way to reduce distracted teen drivers is for parents not to text or use their cell phones when driving. Teens mimic parent behavior.
"NHTSA believes learning safe driving habits can also be derived from observation and parental involvement. A parent being involved in their teen driver's education can have a lasting effect on their driving habits. Establishing rules and providing input into their driving behavior can better prepare them for situations they will encounter on their own. Surveys have shown that teens whose parents impose driving restrictions and set good examples typically engage in less risky driving and are involved in fewer crashes," says the NHTSA.
Parents play an important role, but CarInsurance.com found in a survey last year that most of the 500 parents surveyed allowed their kids to break at least one GDL law (59 percent).
Here's how states rank for percentage of high school students age 16 and over who reported driving and texting or emailing, according to a CDC survey.
Percentage of teen drivers texting/emailing by state
|State||% texting/emailing and driving|
Insurance costs for teens
Insurance companies consider
teen drivers as high-risk drivers because of their driving inexperience and youth. It can cost thousands of dollars to insure teens. There are factors beyond age, too, including the amount and cost of claims, driving record, and type of car.
Here are how states rank from most to least for insurance costs for teens.
|State||Average annual car insurance rate|
For overall ranking, each state was scored from 1 to 5 (1, poor, 2 fair, 3 good, 4 very good, 5 excellent) on each metric. Metrics were weighted as follows: Insurance cost - 10%; Fatal teen crashes - 30%; Leniency of GDL laws - 20%; Teen drinking and driving - 20%; Teen texting and emailing - 20%. Data shown for individual metrics is ranked by raw number. In cases where a state did not participate in federal surveys, the national average was used.
Car insurance rates: CarInsurance.com commissioned rates from Quadrant Information Services for six major carriers in 10 ZIP codes in each state for coverage of 100/300/100 with a $500 deductible for ages 16, 17, 18 and 19.
Fatal crashes: Teen driver fatalities from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics report "Fatalities in Crashes Involving a Young Driver (Ages 15 - 20) by State and Fatality Type; 2015 Fatality Analysis Reporting System" were divided by the 2015 state population. The result was multiplied by 100,000 to get a rate per 100,000 population.
Graduated Driver License specifications and effective licensing provisions: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety/Highway Loss Data Institute; Governor's Highway Safety Association. GDL laws scored on estimated percent reduction of teen fatal crash rate if stricter laws in place.
High school teens drinking and driving: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Youth Risk Behavior Survey 2015.