What not to do when driving. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Driving will always be a risky activity for teenagers, but Maryland parents may be able to find some solace in a new national ranking that puts the state above all others for teen driving safety.

According to CarInsurance.com, Maryland is the safest state in the country for a teenager to drive a car. The ranking was based on five criteria: Teen driving fatalities per 100,000 people, effectiveness of graduated driver’s licenses, teen drinking-and-driving rates, teen texting-and-driving rates and average annual insurance costs.

The ranking indicates Maryland owes its no. 1 spot to its national-low teen fatal accident rate of 0.3 per 100,000 people, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and its relatively high standards for granting graduated driver’s licenses.

The Free State also has the lowest share of teens who reported recently having texted or emailed while driving at the time of the survey, per the CDC. All of this helped the state jump one place from the no. 2 spot in the site’s 2016 ranking.

The next-safest states for teen drivers were New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. North Dakota and Montana repeated as the worst two from 2016.

Insurers seem to have faith in Maryland’s teen drivers. The state was on the lower side of of a table of national annual car insurance rates, registering a $3,599 average cost per teen driver. (For purposes of comparison, Michigan led with an annual average of $7,480 per teenager.)

The site does suggest Maryland could reduce teen driving fatalities by further tightening its licensing requirements. In an accompanying map, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates doing so could help Maryland lower teen fatal crash rates by 19 percent.

The CDC’s High School Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey also says the percentage of teens who reported riding in a car with a drunk driver was slightly lower than the national average.

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Ethan McLeod

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...