Which States Have the Smartest Teen Drivers?

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Driving-Tests.org releases a new nationwide study that reveals 40% of all teen drivers fail their initial practice permit exam.

Which States Have the Smartest Drivers?

Are Smarter Drivers Better Drivers?

According to Andrei Zakhareuski of Driving-Tests.org, a driver's highest lifetime risk of crashing occurs during the first year after receiving a driver’s license. He says, "New drivers should limit distractions and focus on the road at all times."

Have you ever wondered which states have the smartest drivers? Earlier today, Driving-Tests.org released the results of an in-depth nationwide study that reveals 40% of teen drivers fail their online practice permit exams.


Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States. In order to obtain a valid driver’s license, most DMV regulations require a passing score of 80% or higher on the written exam. While every young driver has access to the driving handbook published by their state DMV, drivers who refuse to study this handbook are at a much higher risk of failing the written driving test.

Considering that poor preparation and lack of studying are often cited as two of the top reasons why learner drivers fail their written exam, placing a greater emphasis on driver education may help teen drivers make smarter choices once they hit the road. Driving-Tests.org championed this study to promote safer driving and to illustrate the critical role that driver education plays in the lives of today's teens.


This study analyzed the results of over 1.8 million practice permit exams issued to learner drivers in all 50 US States. The tests were administered on the Driving-Tests.org website during a 45-day period from June 2013 through July 2013.

Summary of Administered Tests:

  • 1,819,843 total tests were requested and administered
  • 1,079,611 (59.36%) of administered tests were completed
  • 60.04% of all completed tests received a passing score
  • 39.96% of all completed tests failed the exam


Top 10 States with the HIGHEST PASSING RATE on completed permit practice tests:

1. Texas (72.64%)
2. New Mexico (70.25%)
3. Massachusetts (69.24%)
4. West Virginia (68.90%)
5. Vermont (67.75%)
6. Alaska (65.73%)
7. Oregon (65.18%)
8. Kansas (64.86%)
9. Ohio (64.72%)
10. Arizona (64.67%)

Top 10 States with the HIGHEST FAILURE RATE on completed permit practice tests:

1. Virginia (51.45%)
2. Maryland (50.82%)
3. California (49.92%)
4. Michigan (45.44%)
5. Washington (44.81%)
6. Pennsylvania (44.08%)
7. Nebraska (43.54%)
8. North Carolina (42.60%)
9. Kentucky (42.55%)
10. New Jersey (42.47%)


During follow-up analysis, researchers compared the pass/fail rates on practice permit exams from all 50 states to each state's rate of auto-related fatalities per capita to see if any correlations exist. No correlations between higher passing rates on the practice permit test and lower rates of accident-related fatalities per capita were observed. However, there was some evidence that states with the highest rates of auto-related fatalities per capita for young drivers (15 - 20 year old) also had the highest rates of driver-related fatalities per capita for all drivers. More research is required before drawing any conclusions.


According to Andrei Zakhareuski, founder of Driving-Tests.org, a driver's highest lifetime risk of a fatal crash occurs during the first year after receiving a driver’s license. “Teen drivers are 3x more likely to be in a fatal crash than drivers over the age of 20,” says Zakhareuski, “Although it is important to note that most new drivers do not crash; safe drivers limit distractions and focus on the road at all times.” He recommends that new drivers take the following 7 steps in order to remain focused on the road and be safer behind the wheel:

1. Observe the speed limit
2. Avoid driving at night
3. Limit the number of passengers
4. Avoid driving after drinking alcohol or using drugs
5. Wear a seatbelt at all times
6. Scan for pedestrians and other obstacles outside of the vehicle
7. Regularly review the rules of the road through online education

How well do you know the rules of the road? To see if you could pass your state licensing exam visit Driving-Tests.org to take a practice test.


Driving-Tests.org is an online driver education website that provides free permit practice tests for US learner drivers. Written by a team of automotive experts, the permit practice tests are designed to simulate the actual exam administered by the DMV in each of the 50 US states. The company also offers a mobile app, helpful tips and useful information about driving safety and car ownership.


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