Teenagers in Kentucky are 140% more likely to die in a car crash than the average U.S. teen, according to a new report.
Using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, personal finance website ValuePenguin.com ranked Kentucky as the worst state in America for teen driver fatalities. The Bluegrass State has the highest average annual teen driver fatalities per 10,000 licensed drivers age 19 or younger, with 3.47 per year.
From 2013 to 2017, Kentucky recorded 128 teen motorist fatalities. According to the report, teens in Kentucky are 16% more likely to die in a car crash than those in Mississippi -- the second deadliest state, which averages three teen driver fatalities per year.
The rate of serious car accidents for Kentucky teenagers could be a contributing factor for the high insurance costs for young drivers, the report found. Rates in Kentucky are the fourth most expensive in the country for student car insurance, with an average annual premium of $9,807.
To get a driver's license in Kentucky, one must first take a written knowledge and vision test, which they are eligible to take when they turn 16. Then, after passing the test and holding a permit for 180 days, the driver may apply for an intermediate license and take a driving skills test. After passing the test and holding the intermediate license for 180 days or turning 18 years old, the driver will then be eligible for a full license, provided they have completed the required driver education course.
Joining Kentucky and Mississippi in the top five are North Carolina, Montana and West Virginia. New Jersey is the safest state for teen drivers, with 0.58 teen driver fatalities per year.
The report also found that teen driver fatalities nationwide have increased over time -- from 1,127 in 2013 to 1,310 in 2017 -- and that male teens across the nation account for 72% of driver fatalities.