Best and worst states for teen drivers — see where NJ ranks
Have a kid behind the wheel, or in the process of earning their license? They're better off in New Jersey than in most other states, according to an analysis released by personal finance website WalletHub.
Looking at 23 key metrics, the report finds New Jersey is the eighth best state for teen drivers.
Among New Jersey's highlights, the state boasts one of the lowest rates of teen-driver fatalities, and is best in the nation for laws related to distracted driving and driving while texting.
New Jersey also ranks among the top states for vehicle miles traveled per capita, as well as occupant-protection laws.
The state ranks third nationally for provisions in the teen driver's graduated licensing program, according to the report. The process of earning a full license varies from state to state.
Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic, said teens in New Jersey can't get their hands on an unrestricted license until age 18 — later than most other states.
"It allows teens to get more practice," Noble said of New Jersey's law.
But, she said, New Jersey is one of just a few states that do not require supervised practice hours between an instructor course and earning a probationary license. A bill in the state Legislature would mandate 50 such hours, with 10 occurring at night.
"The best thing parents can do when they have teen drivers is drive with them and let them drive in all weather conditions and on all road conditions," she said. "And then we also need parents to be exhibiting safe driving examples."
In the WalletHub analysis, New Jersey ranks in the bottom half of states for the premium increase after a parent adds a teen driver to their auto insurance policy. The state also ranks among the worst for the average cost of car repairs.
Maryland is the best state for teen drivers, according to the report. Wyoming is the worst.
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.