States With The Highest Death Rates For Teen Drivers

Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Montana, West Virginia and Wyoming have the highest teen fatal accident rates in the nation, according to a report released this week.

But teens everywhere should be cautious behind the wheel: The fatal accident rate for teens is almost three times the rate for drivers 20 and older, according to the report.

Almost 18,000 teens age 16 to 19 died in car crashes nationwide from 2006 to 2010, according to the Erie Insurance study -- based on the most recent statistics analyzed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ( IIHS) from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Here are the worst states for 16- to 19-year-olds for the four years from 2006 to 2010:
  1. Wyoming -- 35.6 deaths per 100,000 teen motorists. That's 216 percent higher than the national rate for drivers 20 and older.
  2. Montana -- 34.1 deaths per 100,000 teen motorists; 202 percent higher than the national rate for drivers over age 20.
  3. Mississippi -- 32.3 deaths per 100,000 teen motorists and 186 percent higher than the national rate for drivers 20 and older.
  4. A tie between West Virginia, Arkansas and Alabama -- each with 31.2 deaths per 100,000 teen motorists, 177 percent higher than the national rate for drivers 20 and older.

In some cases, the states with high teen fatal crash rates overlap with the states where people drive more miles. For instance, Wyoming, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Montana are all among the top 12 states in the nation with most vehicle miles traveled per capita, according to the Research and Innovative Technology Administration Bureau of Transportation Statistics for 2010.

The states with the lowest fatal car crash rate for teens, according to the Erie study, are:
  1. District of Columbia -- 1.7 deaths per 100,000 teen motorists. That's 85 percent less than the national rate for drivers 20 and older.
  2. New York -- 7.6 and 33 percent lower.
  3. Rhode Island -- 8.4 and 24 percent lower.
  4. Massachusetts -- 8.8 and 22 percent lower.
  5. New Jersey -- 8.9 and 21 percent lower.

Predictably, the report notes that most teens perish in accidents during the summer months and weekends when they aren't in school.