Mississippi is one of the worst states for teen drivers in the country
When it comes to teen drivers, Mississippi ranks among the worst states in terms of safety and driver license provisions, according to a 2017 WalletHub study.
WalletHub analyzed three dimensions to determine where states rank in terms of having a suitable “teen-driving environment”: safety, economic environment and driving laws. Mississippi ranks 44th overall, making it the worst state for teen drivers in the Southeast.
Mississippi tied with Montana for having the most teen-driver fatalities per teen population and is one of eight states with less than two provisions for what is considered to be optimal Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program laws, making it one of the country’s most lenient states in terms of what teenagers have to do to become a fully licensed driver.
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows 76 teen drivers in Mississippi were involved in fatal automobile accidents in 2014, 103 teen drivers in 2015. In a 2016 Clarion-Ledger interview, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety representative Allison Kennedy agreed Mississippi’s teen driving laws are lacking.
“Of the seven optimal Graduated Driver Licensing laws that Advocates recommends in our annual Roadmap Report, Mississippi only has one,” Kennedy told the Clarion-Ledger. “GDL programs are essential as they provide novice teen drivers the opportunity to learn to drive under lower-risk conditions and phase in driving privileges gradually to build up their driving skills.
Mississippi’s seat belt statistics don’t stack up to the national average either, which makes for an even more dangerous driving environment considering teenagers are less likely to wear seat belts. According to the Mississippi Department of Transportation, 90 percent of drivers in the U.S. wear seat belts compared to only 77.9 percent of Mississippi drivers. Fifty percent of Mississippians killed in motor vehicle accidents aren’t wearing seat belts.
Read the entire WalletHub report, which includes detailed methodology.