Are Teenagers Safe On The Roadways In Iowa?
One of the biggest moments of a young adult's life is getting their driver's license. I remember showing up at the driver's test site, on my 16th birthday, hoping I would pass. Failing your driver's test on your 16th birthday wouldn't exactly be a great way to start your birthday and thankfully I passed. Do you remember the kind of vehicle you took your driver's test in?
I took mine in a grey Pontiac Mini Van and I remember practicing parallel parking with garbage and recycling bins for weeks beforehand. When I got to high school all I remember thinking was I will finally be able to drive and I won't need my parents or my older brother to lug me around anymore.
While getting your driver's license is an exciting time as you embrace a new type of independence, there are a ton of risks involved with teens on the roadways. According to Wallet Hub, driving accidents are the second cause of death for young adults ages 16-19 years old.
Not only that but the cost of teen crashes is close to 5 billion dollars per year, according to Wallet Hub. Whether that be medical expenses, loss of work, getting the vehicle fixed, insurance, or traffic citations, all of these add up over the course of a year.
So where does Iowa rank in the United States for best and worst states for teen drivers? Wallet Hub used 23 different metrics and their data ranges from the number of teen driver fatalities, and the average cost of car repairs, to each state's number of impaired-driving laws, and Iowa comes in on the lower half at number 37.
Sadly that puts Iowa in the bottom 74% of the U.S. In the chart, you can see Iowa receives a total score of 48.24 with a safety rating of 30, an economic environment rating of 22, and ranked 38th out of 50 in driving laws. New York comes in at number 1 with the best safety rating in the country and a number 1 rating for driving laws.
There's a part of me that isn't sure how New York could be the number 1 best state for teen drivers. Iowa has a much smaller population than New York, so I would like to believe we have fewer drivers on the roadways, therefore, wouldn't simple math make Iowa a safer state to drive in?
If there are fewer people you interact with while driving doesn't that lower your chances of getting into an accident? I've never been to New York so it would be tough for me to really make an educated argument on why I'd rather have a teenager driving in Iowa than in New York, but if I had a 16-year-old child, I'd much rather them driving around the least amount of people as possible, until they've had more experience behind the wheel.
For any young adult who may be getting their license in the near future, the best advice I can give you is to eliminate as many distractions as you can when behind the wheel. Stay off of your phone, tell your friends to keep the distractions to a minimum, give yourself plenty of time and space to react or stop, and drive the speed limit. There are plenty of adults who have been driving for 10+ years who could probably use some of that advice too.