It's a moment every teenager can't wait for - getting their driver's license. But every year, the number of teen driving deaths are a sobering reminder of the dangers that come with that new piece of plastic.
A new study shows the stricter a state's laws are around that new license, the better the chance of keeping those kids alive behind the wheel.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released the study Thursday.
Since 1996, when states began enacting graduated driver licensing rules, the death rates for teenage drivers has plummeted.
"So for 16-year-olds, for example, per capita fatal crash rates have fallen by more than 60 per cent," says IIHS's Anne McCartt.
It's a drop the agency credits to a range of new limitations put on teen drivers, including: higher age requirements, longer supervised practice hours, night-time driving restrictions and a ban on all teen passengers.
"There's a 21 per cent reduction in the fatal crash rate associated with allowing no passengers versus allowing two or more passengers," says McCartt.
While each state is different, the study shows the stricter the restrictions, the more time a teen-driver has to learn and mature behind the wheel.
But those behind this new study say parents shouldn't just leave it up to their state to determine when and how their teen starts driving.
According to the study, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey are among the states with the best licensing practices due to their permit age and restrictions on new drivers.
South Dakota and Iowa rank among the worst.