Road rage, careless driving, swerving cars: these may all be things you encounter during your normal commute. And the thought “This state has got to have the worst drivers!” may cross your mind from time to time.
It’s time to update our findings with the latest driving statistics and ask once again, “Which state has the worst drivers?“. Keep in mind that not only are bad drivers aggravating and dangerous, but they contribute to increased auto insurance premiums in your State!
MethodologyThe rankings are based on statistics pulled from several sources, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the National Motorists Association, and Mothers Against Drink Driving.
There are five categories for each score, including:
- Fatalities Rate per 100 Million Vehicle Miles Traveled
- Failure to Obey (Traffic Signals + Seat Belts)
- Drunk Driving
- Careless Driving
For example, the state with the most Careless Driving, Florida, got a 51 on the scale (District of Columbia is included in the rankings). The higher the score in each category, the worse the drivers, and the higher your state’s car insurance rates could be.
Here are the Top 10, in descending order:
Ten States with the Worst Drivers:
#10) North DakotaBest Ranking Factor: Tickets: 6th
Worst Ranking Factor: Drunk Driving: 50th
North Dakota was not in the “Top 10″ in our previous edition, but they’ve dropped three places with the latest statistical updates. They kept their Ticketing Rate low, but increases in the Drunk Driving and Fatality Rate categories leaving them with a lot of room for improvement.
#9) MontanaBest Ranking Factor: Tickets: 2nd
Worst Ranking Factor: Fatalities Rate & Drunk Driving: 51st (the worst possible rank)
Montana maintained the worst fatality rate per 100 million miles traveled (this year ranked 51 because we included the District of Columbia), and received a worse Drunk Driving score than last time. What saved them from a lower overall score? Their rating of second best when it comes to likelihood of getting a ticket.
#7 ) North Carolina (tie)Best Ranking Factor: Drunk Driving: 31st
Worst Ranking Factor: Careless Driving: 44th
North Carolina’s rankings start out just above the average, but receiving Top 10 finishes in both Ticketing Rate and Careless Driving mean they’re five spots higher than their previous position. The biggest jump in their ratings came from the Careless Driving category – 13 spots worse than our last measurement.
#7) Missouri (tie)Best Ranking Factor: Careless Driving: 25th
Worst Ranking Factor: Failure to Obey: 48th
Missouri has done well to improve from it’s previous #2 finish, relatively speaking. They have the same total score, but other states have gotten relatively worse. Missouri showed significant improvement in the Careless Driving category, but finished too near the bottom for Failure to Obey.
#6) FloridaBest Ranking Factor: Drunk Driving: 18th
Worst Ranking Factor: Careless Driving: 51st
Florida has struggled in both the Careless Driving and Ticket Rate, but slight improvements in the Fatality Rate and Failure to Obey categories help improve their overall rank. It’s worth noting that their Drunk Driving rating dropped from 7th to 18th. Remember – lower ratings are better.
#5) AlabamaBest Ranking Factor: Drunk Driving: 26th
Worst Ranking Factor: Tickets: 49th
Alabama just managed to stay out of the Top 5 last year, but a change in Careless Driving ranking from 7th to 36th in the nation really hurt them. They have improved or stayed the same in every other category, except for Ticketing Rate.
#4) TexasBest Ranking Factor: Failure to Obey: 33rd
Worst Ranking Factor: Drunk Driving: 47th
Texas has improved it’s overall ranking after coming in 3rd last year, but once again, it’s mostly a matter of the other states getting worse. Their Drunk Driving ranking dropped 16 places to 47th overall. Improvements (however slight) were made in the Fatalities Rate, Failure to Obey, and Ticketing Rate categories.
#3) MississippiBest Ranking Factor: Drunk Driving: 30th
Worst Ranking Factor: Fatalities Rate: 47th
Mississippi is the biggest surprise in the Top 10, having come in 23rd in our previous edition of this study. Major increases in Failure to Obey (3rd to 44th) and Drunk Driving (10th to 30th) make up the bulk of the difference.
#2) South CarolinaBest Ranking Factor: Failure to Obey: 29th
Worst Ranking Factor: Careless Driving: 50th
The change in South Carolina’s Careless Driving rating from 3rd best to 50th was enough to bump them from 11th overall to the number 2 spot. Their Drunk Driving rating also was a cause for concern, increasing from 30th to 49th in the US. South Carolina can take some consolation in their improvement in the Failure to Obey category.
#1) LouisianaBest Ranking Factor: Drunk Driving: 38th
Worst Ranking Factor: Careless Driving: 48th
Louisiana drivers once again have the dubious honor of “Worst in the United States”. Finishing in the Top 5 for three different categories (Failure to Obey, Ticketing Rate, and Careless Driving) means they’ve finished #1 for the second time in a row, 5 points higher than South Carolina overall.
A Lower Ticketing Rate Can Mean More Drunk DrivingNorth Dakota wouldn’t have made the Top 10 without ranking as the second-highest in Drunk Driving. In fact, 10 of the 15 states LEAST likely to give you a ticket ranked in the top half of offenders for Drunk Driving! You might not want to hear it , but perhaps knowing that they’re more likely to get a ticket helps deter drunk drivers.
Be responsible – don’t drink and drive. It only takes a split second to ruin someone’s life, including your own.
Careless Driving & Fatality Rate are Good Indicators of the Worst DriversThe best that any of our Top 10 states finished in either of these categories was 25th, with all but Missouri being in the bottom 20 in both categories.
This connection between Careless Driving & Fatality Rate should be even more reason for drivers to put down their cell phones, and keep their eyes on the road.
What do the best drivers have in common? Paying Attention to the RoadOf the 15 states with the best drivers, only 4 ranked in the bottom half for Careless Driving, meaning they were keeping an eye on the road ahead and their surroundings – NOT on their cell phones.
The bottom line: Paying attention makes a big difference, and saves lives. If you want to be a responsible driver, get rid of the distractions and focus on your driving.
Complete Rankings: Worst Drivers
|State||Fatalities Rate per 100 Million Vehicle Miles Traveled||Failure to Obey (Traffic Signals + Seat Belts)||Drunk Driving||Tickets||Careless Driving||Total Score||Rank|
|District of Columbia||5||1||10||44||28||88||44|