NY ranked best place for teen drivers

This may surprise some, but a recent Wallet hub report ranked New York as the best place for teen drivers.   The report is welcoming news to new drivers like 18-year-old Jacob Thompson of Queens.

"I think living in New York City, driving is super liberating because you're always bound by the subway," said Thompson, who is preparing to take his road exam this month before leaving for college.

"Slow down; please maintain 20 or less," a stern warning from the 18-year-olds driving instructor from Super Starz Auto Driving School in Brooklyn. Despite the liberation, this rite of passage is dangerous, especially during Memorial Day and Labor Day, when officials say teen crashes and fatalities increase.

"They're just being taught to drive fast so you can get to where your destination is. But here in the real world, it's not drive fast; it's drive safe to get to where your destination is because if you drive fast, you might not get to your destination; and that's really important to understand," said manager Natalie Ghaly of Super Starz Auto Driving.

Officials say speed was a factor in a deadly crash that claimed the lives of three teens on Staten Island in July when the Mustang convertible they were riding in crashed into an SUV.

Distracted driving is also a factor in crashes involving teen drivers, according to AAA and Ghaly.

"It's usually the, like, distractions where you have loud music that they blast loud music, and they want to show the whole world like, 'Hey, I'm here. I got this new car.'" The former driving instructor also says, "Loud music doesn't allow them to hear everything on the road. And also food." AAA warns young drivers that their chances of crashing increase when riding with friends.

Some experts say video games can alter a young person’s perception of driving– while others, like Thompson, say it helps. "It prepared me pretty well, not for following the law, obviously, but for definitely getting around and being comfortable behind the wheel. It's definitely a booster."