BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A sigh of relief for Maryland parents. The state has been named the safest in the country for teen drivers.

From texting while driving, to getting distracted by a passenger, teen drivers can pose a risk. But that risk is lower here, according to a analysis.

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“I make sure my lights are working every time, and my breaks,” says 17-year-old Ariel Knapp, who spoke with WJZ at the MVA in Glen Burnie.

“I want to be a safe driver so, I just try to make the smart decisions any possible chance,” says Justin Green.

The study looked at the state’s crash statistics, graduated license program, law enforcement and practice time.

Chrissy Nizer, with the MVA, tells WJZ the agency wants to make sure teens are ready to go behind the wheel.

Of the more than 500 people who died on Maryland roads in 2016, 21 were young people.

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“We won’t be satisfied until we have zero young driver fatalities and that’s truly our goal in Maryland,” says Nizer.

To do that, MVA awards driving eligibility by stages, after an applicant fulfills a learner’s permit test, training, and a skills test. It’s a stricter application process than other parts of the country.

Teens WJZ spoke with, don’t mind playing by the rules outlined by the “Rookie Driver” program.

“We know the stereotype of people thinking we’re pretty bad drivers but we just want to prove them wrong,” Knapp says.

And it pays to be safe in more ways than one. Young drivers in Maryland spend less for car insurance.

For more information on how to get your teen driver ready to hit the roadways safely, visit

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