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Fatal teen crashes decrease in SD, nation

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Fatal teen crashes decrease in SD, nation
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

By Northern Plains News Service

South Dakota’s teen driving death rate has decreased, according to a new study. Nationally, teen driving deaths have also decreased, according to Erie Insurance’s second annual state-by-state comparison of teen driving death rates.

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Nearly 16,000 16- to 19-year-olds died in car crashes with another teen behind the wheel from 2007 to 2011. On average, that’s 2,000 fewer teen deaths than the previous five-year period (2006-2010), but the per capita fatal crash rate for this age group remains 35 percent higher than for drivers ages 20 and older. The 2007-2011 range is the most recent five-year period for which data is available.

South Dakota’s teen driving death rates decreased from 28.0 to 22.7 during the reporting periods. South Dakota also dropped from having the 10th worst rate in 2006-2010 to the 15th worst in 2007-2011. Among regional states, North Dakota had the eighth worst teen crash death rate at 24.6 and Minnesota had the seventh best rate at 9.9. The deadliest months for teen drivers in South Dakota are September and October. The deadliest day is Saturday, according to the study.

Erie Insurance worked with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to examine crash data from the U.S. Department of Transportation to show state-by-state comparisons of teen crash death rates when teens are behind the wheel.

Wyoming, Montana, Mississippi, Alabama and West Virginia had the highest rates of deaths with teens behind the wheel. The District of Columbia, New York, New Jersey, California and Massachusetts had the lowest rates.

Increasing the age teens can get a driver’s license appears to be a factor in the improved national numbers, Erie Insurance claims.

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