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Utah ranks second highest in the nation for proportion of fatal crashes caused by teen drivers


One in eight fatal car crashes from 2010-2019 involved 15-20 year-old drivers. That’s according to a new LendingTree study. In Utah, the study reported that teen drivers were behind the wheel in 16% of the state’s fatal crashes, the second highest in the nation. Teens died in 11% of fatal crashes, the third highest in the nation.

Andrew Hurst, author of the study, said Utah being more rural as compared to other states could be a factor.


“If there is the perception that there are fewer people on the road you can get up to a higher speed, you might drive a little bit more distractedly,” Hurst said.


But it’s not all bad news.


“I would say the good news, though, for Utah, is that, like the rest of the country, the number of fatal accidents actually dropped in 2019, compared to 2010,” Hurst said. “It dropped by 9%.”


Despite the decrease, Hurst said its high crash weekends like what Utah just experienced over Halloween that show there is still room to improve.


“It kind of provides an impetus or a motivation to move forward,” Hurst said. “To sort of refine what you've been doing and figure out a new thing, new way forward.”


Hurst said while teens might be behind the wheel of many crashes, Utah has a lower number of total fatal crashes compared to other states. That statistic is promising.


“I think I am generally hopeful,” Hurst said. “Considering you know, those crash numbers continued to dwindle and they're not that much to begin with, that we're headed in the right direction.”


Emma Feuz is a senior at Utah State University majoring in broadcast journalism with minors in sociology and political science. She grew up in Evanston, Wyoming where, just like Utah State, the sagebrush also grows. Emma found her love of writing at an early age and slowly discovered her interest in all things audio and visual throughout her years in school. She is excited to put those passions to use at UPR. When school isn't taking up her time, Emma loves longboarding, cheering on the Denver Broncos, and cleaning the sink at Angies.