How did Indiana finish highest in teen driving deaths?

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) A study this month ranked Indiana number one for teen driving deaths in the nation. So we went looking locally to find out what’s made the roads less safe for today’s teen drivers.

In the late afternoon we found some soon to be licensed drivers like Bradley Davis at the Sammer’s Driving School; studying his way through the excitement of anticipating that first legal drive.

“I mean I really started paying attention when I was 14 or 15 because that’s about when my brother got his. So I was ready once he got his,” Davis said.

While Bradley may not have read the study, his instructors certainly have.

“Indiana is the leading state for most teen deaths, mostly occurring during the summer time,” Kari Kirchner of Sammer’s Driving School said. “With that we at Sammer’s are highly concerned on hearing that number.”

The interesting twist to that number is that Indiana has one of best driver’s licensing programs in the country.

“Indiana follows a graduated licensing program and what that means is when your student gets that probationary there are certain times of the day that they are allowed to drive,” Kirchner said.
“There is a limit on the people they can drive with and how soon they can drive with those people.”

What we found out about Indiana’s teen drivers can be a little confusing.

The state has the highest number per capita of teen driving fatalities. But that same study also said Indiana had one of the better licensing programs in the country.

Now here’s another statistic we thought might help a little bit. Within that same study Indiana also had the second highest number of driving under the influence violations among teen drivers.

“You can’t just leave it to law enforcement to enforce those things, it’s your responsibility as the parent or guardian of that child that when they get their license they follow those rules,” Kirchner said.

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