PORTLAND, Maine — A high number of Maine teenagers per capita are involved in tragic car crashes or caught drinking and driving, making the state one of the worst in America for young drivers, a popular finance website announced Wednesday.
WalletHub.com, a website which regularly publishes data analyses spanning a wide range of subjects, used 16 metrics to evaluate driving conditions for teenagers in each of the 50 states.
Maine ranked No. 40 — with No. 1 having the fewest and No. 50 having the most — in terms of teen driving fatalities per 100,000 teenagers. Overall, the state finished at No. 42, or the ninth worst state for teen drivers, according to the WalletHub analysis.
The study comes about two weeks after more than two thirds of the Maine Legislature voted to override Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of the so-called “Taylor’s Law.” The law, which will go into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns for the session, will make available bright decals that identify the vehicles whose drivers have intermediate licenses.
Among other things, the decals are intended to help police enforce laws preventing intermediate drivers from transporting passengers outside of immediate family members, or without an experienced driver present. The law was named after 15-year-old Taylor Darveau of Bucksport, who died in an October 2013 car crash in a vehicle being driven by a 16-year-old with an intermediate license.
That year, Maine had one teen driving fatality for approximately every 6,900 teenagers.
In addition to the fatalities data, WalletHub ranked Maine No. 41 in the number of teen drunk driving violations per 100,000 teenagers, and No. 48 in terms of automobile insurance increases after teen drivers are added to policies.
The website also placed Maine the bottom half of states in terms of road quality (No. 33) and the number of vehicle miles traveled per capita (No. 34). According to the nonprofit U.S. Public Interest Research Group, Maine vehicles travel more than 10,700 miles per capita annually.
On Tuesday, WalletHub also released an unrelated study on the impact of credit scores on car insurance, collecting quotes from the five largest automobile insurers using credit scores as variables. In that study, the website’s researchers found that car insurance premiums in Maine can fluctuate by as much as 70 percent based on a driver’s credit score.