Oregon, Washington rank among best for teen drivers

by Sharlyn Petit
Every now and then, critics compare our 50 states in an all-out-who’s-best ranking battle. Such as, which are the healthiest, happiest, or most educated? Others judge the best spot to retire or sip the best beer.
   The Northwest ranks high on a list that offers a little comfort to nail-biting parents of teen drivers. A recent study conducted by online financial resource WalletHub put Oregon and Washington in the top 10 states for teen drivers.
   
The study’s methodology included looking at 16 metrics within three categories: safety conditions, economic environment, and driving laws. Overall, Oregon ranked No. 4, and Washington ranked No. 9. Our Idaho neighbors came in at No. 37. See the how all 50 states stacked up here.
   
Teen driver license restrictions hold a lot of weight in factoring where we ended up on the list. Oregon and Washington tied for No. 3 (out of all 50 states) in the driving-laws ranking, which considered metrics like teen driver graduated licensing (GDL) laws, occupant protection laws, impaired driving laws, distracted driving laws, and red light and speeding camera laws.
   
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says the fatal crash rate per mile driven for 16-19 year-olds is nearly three times the rate for drivers 20 and over, and risk is highest at ages 16-17.
   
Northwest teens eager to jump behind the wheel parent-free, after 1 a.m., and with a load of passengers under age 20 may kick and scream about the injustice of restrictions, but our states remain better off for it. 

by  Jon Osterberg

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