Debates around the nation are about to finally be silenced, so get ready for the “I told you so” coming from your friends and relatives, or rightfully gripe away if you actually live and drive in one of the top 10 states with the worst drivers in the nation. CarInsuranceComparison.com came up with the Worst Drivers by State, according to collected data and research. They calculated their list by combining statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the National Motorists Association and Mothers Against Drunk Driving to create a score, based on categories like fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, drunk driving and failure to obey laws (traffic signals and seat belts). They created the scores for every state and lined them up next to each other to make a list of 51 (this year they included the District of Columbia). They put the numbers against one another and out came the list of the states, worst to best. The higher the score, the lower they are on the top 10.
Some things to keep in mind: A lower ticketing rate may mean more drunk driving. At least according to the study, where 10 of the 15 states with the lowest ticketing score were in the top half of their drunk driving score. So basically, residents who don’t get pulled over as often in general might actually be less likely to be pulled over when drunk.
Is there a common denominator for the worst? The Careless Driving and Fatality Rates seem to be the best indicators of the worst drivers. All but Missouri were in the bottom 20 worst scores for both categories. Remember, careless driving includes any cell phone use. And if we are talking about the 15 best drivers, only 4 of them ranked in the bottom half for careless driving. So whether you want to raise your state’s score or just be a better driver in general, get rid of the distractions and put the cell phone down!
10. North Dakota
It looks like the quality of driving took precedent over quantity of driving in this case, considering North Dakota is the 3rd least populous state in the U.S. This state ranked pretty low in the Ticketing Rate but earned a spot on the top 10 due to high numbers in Drunk Driving and Fatality Rate categories. Plus, the Great Plains state is also the least visited state, so there is no way to blame tourists for hiking up the numbers.
Looks like Big Sky Country might be the most dangerous state to drive in, so be sure to keep your eyes on the cars around you as opposed to the land and mountains. The super large but lowly- dense state’s saving grace was their lack of tickets (second-lowest chance of getting one) or else they might have given the number one spot a run for their money; Montana scored the highest of all on Drunk Driving and Fatality Rate!
8. (tie) North Carolina
It might not be the biggest state, but North Carolina is divided into 100 counties(!) that might make it more densely policed. Careless Driving sank the state to the tied number seven position along with their Ticketing Rate, but as for the rest of the categories, North Carolina ranked pretty fair.
7. (tie) Missouri
In contrast to North Carolina, Careless Driving was one of Missouri’s best categories. But what drove the state to the top 10 was their high score in the Failure to Obey category. Famous for the Gateway Arch, St. Louis may be responsible for the high traffic areas, even though Kansas City is technically the most populated in Missouri.
Known for its beautiful beaches, salsa music and Disneyworld, the state luckily ranked middle-of-the-road with their Fatality Rate and Failure to Obey scores. However, they got the highest possible Careless Driving score, ultimately pulling them down to the number six spot. Basically, Florida could take the title of the most aggravating place to get around!
If you live in the south, you’re out of excuses, because three of the top five on here are southern states! Even with ranking fair in all other categories, the Hart of Dixie’s Ticketing Rate was third-highest, causing them to round out the top five. Whether residents are leaving super-size stadiums Talladega Superspeedway or watching the Alabama/ Auburn rivalry at their respective venues, getting pulled over is always a high concern for drivers.
This might not be a surprise to you considering the enormousness of Texas! The Lone Star state is the second-biggest (Alaska holds number one) and second-most populous (can’t beat California) state in the U.S. Even with bumping up one spot from last year, Texas still has a least-improved Drunk Driving score. Fortunately, the Fatalities Rate, Failure to Obey and Ticketing Rates are better than last year, but still not enough to get them out of the top five.
CarInsuranceComparison.com claims this to be their biggest surprise in the Top 10 and more so in the number three spot. They came 23rd in the previous edition of their study. They cite major increases in Failure to Obey and Drunk Driving which ultimately caused the drastic move.
2. South Carolina
Blame the second-highest Careless Driving score and third-highest Drunk Driving score to sink them to the number two spot. The state already has a bad rap for littering and debris on highways. In fact, according to National Highway Safety Administration data, the state has a crazy high fatality rate from litter and debris-related vehicle accidents.
For the second time in a row, Louisiana gets the honor of being the “Worst in the U.S.”. Louisiana was a hefty five points away from the number two spot, which is one of the highest gaps between spots on the chart! You might think their Drunk Driving Rate score would be the highest, considering the high traffic coming out of Bourbon St. or out of an LSU football game, but it was their top five highest scores for Failure to Obey, Ticketing Rate and Careless Driving that ultimately brought them a title. But even though this number one isn’t one to celebrate, we are pretty sure New Orleans and the French Quarter will still find a reason to!
Honorable mentions: Oklahoma, Nevada, Tennessee, Georgia and Pennsylvania were all within 6 points of the number 10 spot. They could’ve made the top 10 with a small increase in any area, so you might want to look out for these states to climb in next year and in future studies.
There are some states you might be shocked to not see on the list. California only ranked 19th, with surprisingly low numbers in Fatality Rate and Drunk Driving. There’s a perception that drunk driving is much more prevalent, especially in the Los Angeles area, because the media sensationalizes the celebrity cases. But the numbers are actually lower than what you might think. New York ranked 22nd, which might be middle-of-the-road because of the great amount of public transportation in the Big Apple. Only one spot above was Illinois, which holds the most populous city in the American Midwest, Chicago. The only reason they weren’t closer to the top 10 was their extremely low Fatalities Rate, compared to the higher rest of the scores.