Indiana Ranks No. 1 in Teen Driving Deaths

By Melissa Crash

Published 06/18 2014 04:37PM

Updated 06/18 2014 09:27PM

The summer season brings more teens to the roads, but before you let your teen behind the wheel, you should know that 260 young drivers die each month in traffic accidents during the summer.

A just released study puts Indiana in the top spot when it comes to teen driving deaths.

Getting your drivers license is like a rite of passage when you turn 16, but the results of this new study show, it's grown to become a death sentence for thousands of teens around the country.

Teens tend to use the summer to get their drivers licenses, and after Indiana ranked number one in teen driver fatalities, many driving schools are taking time to focus on how they can help.

Kari Kirchner, a driving instructor in Terre Haute said, "We do our very best to make sure the students are as prepared."

The study by used 16 data points, which included number of teen drivers, fatality rates, and under the influence citations.

"It's really important that they not only get the state mandated laws, but things about how to drive defensively, things that we take for granted as adults," said Kirchner.

On a more positive note, the state ranks 26th as far as laws and conditions on road safety.

Alex Barksdale, a Terre Haute teen driver said, "It's something you really have to take seriously because just the high risk in accidents. You know, there's so much that can happen that you can regret. Again, just taking a few extra precautions can really save that."

Indiana crash data shows that drivers that took drivers education were less likely to engage in unsafe driving actions.

"With the state of Indiana, drivers ed is not a requirement for teens when they get their license. Those who opt to take it, I truly believe are better prepared than those who don't," said Kirchner.

Parents can reduce the risk by putting teens in a safe car, and making sure airbags and safety features work properly.

"Always be scanning the roadway, go slow if you're not prepared. The speed limit is the limit, you don't have to drive as fast as it says to. Slow down if you need to, the car behind you may get irritated, but you'll be alive," said Kirchner.

Officials suggest teens use a family car, as teens who usually share cars with their family take fewer risks.

Overall Illinois ranked quite high. The state ranked second in lowest number of teen "under the influence" traffic violations.

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