There is a lot for Montana residents to be proud of regarding their state. But the safety of our teenage drivers is not one of them if a study released earlier this summer is to be believed.
The study, conducted by financial website Wallet Hub, ranked Montana dead last in the U.S. when it comes to teenage driver safety. It said that Montana has the second-most teenage fatalities in auto accidents per 100,000 teenagers. Our state also ranks 45th in underage DUIs.
Lack of experience, bad habits lead to car accidents
Generally, teenagers are the least experienced drivers on the highway. Their first years behind the wheel are when they develop either good or bad driving habits. Unfortunately, younger drivers are some of the most likely to get distracted by their phones or other devices. Add in driving while high or drunk, and you have a recipe for disaster. An inexperienced motorist who is distracted, intoxicated or both is at high risk of crashing into another vehicle and seriously injuring the people inside.
In an interview, an executive at Wallet Hub explained that factors like Montana’s low population and long driving distances might somewhat skew the results. Still, teenage drivers in every state face the same temptations of drunk driving and distracted driving as they do here. Negligent teens don’t just endanger themselves. They put everyone around them on the road at risk of permanent disability or death.
Hopefully, you are never caught in a wreck with an out-of-control teen motorist. But if you are, they (and their insurance) should be the ones to bear the cost of your recovery, not you and your family.