The GJEL Blog has always kept a close eye on the driver safety laws of each state, with a particular interest in California. Fortunately, the “Golden State” has maintained a record of progressive safety laws, including strict distracted driving laws and penalties for drunk drivers. Other states have been less receptive to driver safety laws, and some have even openly opposed legislation that would save lives and reduce car accident injuries. So in honor of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, we thought it would be useful to highlight the five worst states for road safety based on our research on teen driver and distracted driving laws, drunk driving penalties and statistics, and bicycle safety laws.

For the sake of this list, I looked at all of the criteria listed below, with a special emphasis on distracted driving and drunk driving laws. Teen permit and license age, bicycle helmet requirements, and motorcycle helmet laws were also important factors. Take a look at our list and join the conversation in the comments section, or on our Facebook page.

South Dakota


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Handheld ban: No
Cell phone ban: No
Texting ban: No
License suspension after 1st DUI offense: No
Ignition interlock devices required: No
% of total auto accident deaths related to DUI: 29
Permit age: 14
Unrestricted license age: 16
Bike helmets required: No
Motorcycle helmets required: Ages 17 and below

Montana


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Handheld ban: No
Cell phone ban: No
Texting ban: No
License suspension after 1st DUI offense: No
Ignition interlock devices required: Repeat offenders
% of total auto accident deaths related to DUI: 40
Permit age: 14 years 6 months
Unrestricted license age: 16
Bike helmets required: No
Motorcycle helmets required: Ages 17 and below

South Carolina


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Handheld ban: No
Cell phone ban: No
Texting ban: No
License suspension after 1st DUI offense: No
Ignition interlock devices required: Repeat offenders
% of total auto accident deaths related to DUI: 44
Permit age: 15
Unrestricted license age: 16 years 6 months
Bike helmets required: No
Motorcycle helmets required: Ages 20 and below

Pennsylvania


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Handheld ban: No
Cell phone ban: No
Texting ban: No
License suspension after 1st DUI offense: No
Ignition interlock devices required: No
% of total auto accident deaths related to DUI: 34
Permit age: 16
Unrestricted license age: 17
Bike helmets required: Ages 11 and below
Motorcycle helmets required: Ages 20 and below

Idaho


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Handheld ban: “Distraction in/on vehicle” law lists common distractions
Cell phone ban: No
Texting ban: No
License suspension after 1st DUI offense: 90 days
Ignition interlock devices required: No
% of total auto accident deaths related to DUI: 34
Permit age: 14 years 6 months
Unrestricted license age: 16
Bike helmets required: No
Motorcycle helmets required: Ages 17 and below