2017’s Best & Worst States for Teen Drivers

Updated April 12, 2022 | Infoplease Staff

A young male driver in a car

As summer rolls around, more and more teenagers will be obtaining their licenses and hitting the road. One of the main things parents worry about when their teens finally begin to drive is their safety. However, many don’t realize that the state you live in can have a major impact on the well-being of those teen drivers. Recently the personal-finance website, WalletHub, has released its report on “2017’s Best & Worst States for Teen Drivers,” ranking the individual states on a number of different factors to determine just how safe each is for these new drivers.

WalletHub's press release lists all 50 states according to safety, economic environment, and driving laws and ranks them on these factors. New York comes out on top being number one in safety, fourth in economic environment, and fourth in driving laws, which makes it the overall best state for teen drivers. In contrast, Montana sits at the bottom of the list ranking 48th in safety, 42nd in economic environment, and 48th in driving laws, officially marking it as the worst state for teen drivers.

The Driving Laws Factor

However, despite New York being ranked first and Montana being ranked last, there are still a number of other factors to consider when it comes to driving safety. Although New York is considered the safest, it is also the state that has the fewest vehicle miles traveled per capita, which could play a part in its top ranking. In relation, Rhode Island has the fewest teen driver fatalities per 100,000 teens at 2.12 though it is only ranked as the 12th best state for teen drivers. Washington, on the other hand, was classified as the state with the best driving laws, however it was only ranked as the fifth in overall safety.

Altogether, Wyoming comes in second place as the worst state for teen drivers, being ranked at 49th despite it being ranked the worse in safety as well as economic environment. Wyoming is also number one in most teen DUIs per teen population. However, Montana still beats out Wyoming as the worst state for teen drivers. Even though Montana does not place last in any of the three categories, safety, economic environment, and driving laws, it still has the most teen driver fatalities per 100,000 teens at 22.32, which is ten times greater than the state with the fewest fatalities.

Although there are a number of other factors that go into the rankings of these states, such as population and size as well, the well-being of young drivers is an important topic to touch upon. As summer is the most popular time for teens to obtain their licenses, parents and other adults continue to worry about the safety of roads in their home states. For more information on this topic check out Wallethub’s “2017’s Best & Worst States for Teen Drivers” list and find out where your state is ranked among the rest.

Best States for Teen Drivers   Worst States for Teen Drivers
  1 New York   41 Oklahoma
  2 Oregon   42 Iowa
  3 Illinois   43 Idaho
  4 Maryland   44 Mississippi
  5 Washington   45 Missouri
  6 Louisiana   46 Nebraska
  7 California   47 South Dakota
  8 Delaware   48 North Dakota
  9 New Jersey   49 Wyoming
  10 Georgia   50 Montana



By Sally Greene
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