Are Kentucky teens at greater risk for car accidents?

Over the past few years, the nationwide number of teen driver fatalities has seen an increase. In 2017, there were 1,310 teen driver fatalities across the United States compared with 1,127 in 2013. As a parent in Kentucky, you may feel alarmed at these statistics and wonder what kind of risk your own teenage drivers face.

Unfortunately, the statistics are not very encouraging. Kentucky New Era cites data sourced from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in reporting that the annual average rate of teen driver fatalities in Kentucky is the highest of any state in the nation. More specifically, for every 10,000 licensed drivers age 19 or younger in the state, 3.47 lose their lives in car accidents every year.

According to the data, the top five deadliest states in the country for teen drivers include West Virginia, Montana, North Carolina and Mississippi. Compared to teen drivers in Mississippi, however, Kentucky youth are more likely to die in a car crash by 16%.

The cause of the greater risk to teen drivers in Kentucky is not entirely clear. Kentucky teens are eligible for a permit at age 16, provided that they first pass tests of their visual acuity and driving knowledge. After six months, they may apply for an intermediate license, which requires them to pass a driving skills test. A full license requires the teenager to pass the required driver education course, and even then, the teen is not eligible until he or she has reached the age of 18 or has had an intermediate license for six months, whichever comes first.

What is clear is that the high rate of fatal car accidents involving teen drivers may also contribute to increased insurance rates in Kentucky. The statewide average premium for student car insurance is nearly $10,000 per year, the fourth most expensive rate in the nation.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.