Once again, South Dakota has received the dubious distinction of being one of the worst states for teen drivers.

There is a discrepancy between the WalletHub and CarInsurance rankings, but there is no mistaking the fact that teen drivers, and the rest of us, are in danger when they're on the road.

WalletHub analyzed three areas in their determination of ranking; 1) safety, 2) economic environment, and 3) driving laws. Those areas included teen driver fatalities, teen drinking and driving, as well as texting and emailing instances, cost of accident repairs, gas prices, impaired/distracted/texting laws, DUI violations and the details of GDL (Graduated Driving License) programs within each state.

CarInsurance as the name implies crunched numbers in five basic categories: teen safety and insurance costs. Within those categories they examined; 1) number of teen fatalities, 2) effectiveness of GDL laws, 3) teen drinking & driving laws, 4) teen emailing and texting rates and 5) average annual insurance costs for teen drivers which reflect the risk level for this driving group.

They stated that National Highway Travel Safety Administration figures indicate teen fatalities have jumped significantly since 2014, but compared to a decade ago have actually dropped.

Both organizations agree on the importance of GDL programs, as they "ease teens into driving as they mature behind the wheel." Unfortunately, GDL laws and requirements vary from state to state.

For instance, in South Dakota kids can get an instruction permit and begin driving at 14. But many teens wait until they can get an unrestricted license, which means they have neither the education nor the maturity needed to be a safe driver.

CarInsurance even estimates that if South Dakota implemented stricter GDL provisions, teen crash fatalities could be reduced by 63%!

The takeaway from both these organizations is; our state has some work to do to protect vulnerable teen drivers and the rest of us on the road with them.

To see the complete reports, go to WalletHub and CarInsurance.

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