We have some wonderful, talented, smart teenagers in South Dakota. But apparently and unfortunately, their behavior behind the wheel doesn't reflect this. When I took a look at the statistics gathered by the number-crunching gurus at WalletHub, regarding teen driving around the country and in our state, in particular, my reaction was a simple "Wow!".

South Dakota teens are the 2nd worst group of teen drivers in the country. Outdone in their awfulness, only by those wacky Wyoming kids!

WalletHub "analyzed the teen-driving environment in the 50 states across three key dimensions: 1) Safety, 2) Economic Environment and 3) Driving Laws". Within those areas they scrutinized numerous factors including, but not limited to:

  • Poor behavior - Phone use, speeding, aggressive acceleration, harsh braking, and poor turning.
  • Teen drinking and driving
  • Texting
  • Seatbelt usage
  • Number of driving schools per capita
  • Gas prices
  • Cost of insurance
  • Speeding and red light tickets
  • DUIs
  • DUI fatalities
  • GDL (Graduated Driver Licensing) program implementation

Well, you get the picture.

Our state really took a hit over the GDL provisions, because South Dakota doesn't implement many of them, which are:

  1. Minimum age of 16 for Learner's Permit
  2. 6-month holding period
  3. 50 hours of supervised driving
  4. Nighttime driving restriction
  5. Passenger restriction
  6. Age 18 for an Unrestricted License

I think the saddest result from this study was seeing South Dakota with the most teen DUIs, and 4th highest number of teen driving fatalities in the country. This just makes my heart hurt, for them, and for their families.

You can see the entire report at WalletHub.

Source: WalletHub