A new survey ranks Missouri as one of the most dangerous states for teen drivers.

Missouri is one of the most dangerous states in the country for teen drivers, according to a new study. KQ2 News reports that Missouri was ranked the fifth most dangerous state overall for teen drivers. The low ranking is partly due to poor overall safety conditions and a relative lack of effective driving laws, most notably laws prohibiting cell phone use while driving. The study is particularly worrying given that traffic fatalities are on the rise in the state, partly due to car accidents caused by distracted drivers.

Missouri’s teen drivers

The study found that Missouri ranked tenth-last in the country for overall safety conditions and second-last in terms of driver safety laws. Those poor showings helped rank Missouri the fifth-worst overall in terms of how safe the state is for teen drivers.

The lack of a ban on cell phone use while behind the wheel was a big factor in the rankings. Currently, the state only bans texting and driving for motorists who are 22 years of age and younger. Furthermore, the state does not prohibit talking on a cell phone while driving.

Traffic deaths increase

The study comes as statistics released by the Missouri Highway Patrol show traffic fatalities increasing across the state. According to Ozarks First, the recently released figures show that 2015, with 870 traffic fatalities, was the deadliest year on Missouri’s roads in over five years. Furthermore, the 374 traffic deaths that were recorded in the state as of late June of this year could help make 2016 even deadlier. Those 374 deaths represent a five-percent increase in fatalities compared with the same time last year.

There are a number of explanations for why traffic fatalities are increasing, including low gas prices, mild weather, and a lack of seatbelt use. However, many safety experts point out that the ubiquity of cell phones has also helped fuel the increase in deadly accidents. Furthermore, with the summer holidays now here, there are going to be even more young and relatively inexperienced drivers on the road, likely leading to even more traffic accidents caused by human error.

Car accident attorneys

Driving can turn dangerous no matter the age of the driver. Distracted driving, in particular, is a problem that affects drivers both young and old and which has helped contribute to an increase in preventable accidents. For those who have been hurt in a car crash, help is available. A personal injury attorney can assist accident victims with understanding their legal options and, in some cases, with helping them pursue financial compensation.