Worst Drivers By State

 

Click on a State to See its Worst Driver Ranking:  (click here for rankings table)

 

 

Do you remember the last time someone cut you off, forcing you to swerve out of the way or slam on the brakes? Maybe this is more of a regular occurrence that you’ve actually found yourself getting used to. What is it that makes a “bad driver” bad, after all? Is it a lead foot, selfishness, carelessness, or all of the above? If you’re living in one of the following states, you might want to be extra careful when you’re out on the road.

We have updated our Worst Drivers statistics with the most recent data that is available, and it’s time to find out, “Which states have the worst drivers?”. Keep in mind that your insurance company could use these kinds of statistics to estimate risk and increase or decrease premiums, depending on location.

Methodology

The rankings for this study are based on statistics made available to the public by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Each state is ranked according to the follow categories:

  • Fatalities Rate per 100 Million Vehicle Miles Traveled
  • Failure to Obey (Percentage of Fatal Crashes that involved Traffic Signals, Not Wearing Seat Belts, and Driving with an Invalid Driver License)
  • Drunk Driving (Percentage of Fatal Crashes that Involved Alcohol)
  • Speeding (Percentage of Driving Fatalities that were Speed-Related)
  • Careless Driving (Pedestrian & Bicyclist Fatalities per 100,000 Population)

We translated all of this information into one Total Score, and the worst states received the lowest scores.

For example, the state with the highest percentage of Drunk Driving-related fatal crashes, Montana, earned just 1 point in this category, and state with the lowest percentage, Kentucky, received a score of 51 (the District of Columbia is included in these rankings). Lower scores mean worse drivers, and those drivers could be driving up your state’s car insurance rates.

Since our previous Ticketing Rate category can widely vary based on different state laws, police enforcement, and city and state safety initiatives, we decided to replace this category with Speeding, which is based on the percentage of fatal crashes in which speed was a factor.

For a complete breakdown, along with the specific sources used for each scoring criteria, click here or you can view the rankings table below. For all media inquiries please email: tyler@carinsurancecomparison.com

Ten States with the Worst Drivers:

 

#10) Missouri

Best Ranking Factor: Careless Driving: 25th
Worst Ranking Factor:
 Speeding: 11th


Missouri landed at #7 in last year’s study, so they’ve made some improvements to move up to being the 10th-worst in the nation. They made significant strides in Failure to Obey (previously ranked 4th-worst, now 21st), but were just outside the top 10 worst states for both Drunk Driving and Speeding.

 

#9) Oklahoma

 Best Ranking Factors: Speeding & Drunk Driving: 32nd
Worst Ranking Factor:
Failure to Obey: 1st


Oklahoma, having finished just outside the top 10 for worst drivers last year, finished in the top 10 “worst” for two separate categories (Fatalities Rate and Failure to Obey), carrying them to a 9th place finish this time around. They were the worst offenders in the Failure to Obey category.

 

#8 ) Hawaii

Best Ranking Factor: Failure to Obey: 33rd
Worst Ranking Factor:
Speeding: 1st


Hawaii did rank in the better half for Failure to Obey, but was #1 for Speeding. Careless Driving was also a problem area, with Hawaii coming in 10th-worst. Slowing down and paying attention to their surrounding will help drivers in Hawaii rank better next time.

 

#6) Nevada (tie)

Best Ranking Factor: Fatalities Rate: 30th
Worst Ranking Factor: Careless Driving: 8th


Louisiana and Nevada were tied at 77, good enough to share the #6 spot. Nevada has ranked near the bottom 10 in all of our editions of this study, but this year is their worst ranking yet, due to being among the 15 worst states in four out of five categories: Failure to Obey, Drunk Driving, Speeding, and Careless Driving.

 

#6) Louisiana (tie)

Best Ranking Factor: Speeding: 36th
Worst Ranking Factor:
 Careless Driving: 4th


Louisiana does have some positives to take away from this year’s study, because they no longer rank as the worst drivers in the U.S. They finished at #1 in both of our previous editions. The key factor could be Louisiana’s Drunk Driving ranking, which has consistently improved each time.

However, they finished in the top 10 worst states in three different categories: Fatalities Rate, Failure to Obey, and Careless Driving. That really brought them down in the rankings, despite being in the top 20 for states with the lowest occurrence of Speeding.

 

#5) Delaware

Best Ranking Factor: Failure to Obey: 29th
Worst Ranking Factor: 
Careless Driving: 1st


Delaware followed Louisiana’s example and also landed among the 10 worst states in three categories: Drunk Driving, Speeding, and Careless Driving. Delaware drivers declined significantly from last year in both Failure to Obey and Drunk Driving rankings (dropping 16 and 15 places, respectively), and also dropped to the worst in the nation for Careless Driving.

 

#4) North Dakota

Best Ranking Factor: Careless Driving: 41st
Worst Ranking Factor:
 Drunk Driving: 2nd


North Dakota is the first of our “top 10″ to finish among the five worst states in three different categories: Fatalities Rate, Failure to Obey, and Drunk Driving. These low scores really overshadowed their positive ranking for Careless Driving (41st), and brought them down to 4th from their previous 10th place finish.

 

#3) Texas

Best Ranking Factor: Failure to Obey: 22nd
Worst Ranking Factor:
 Drunk Driving: 6th


Texas was #4 in our previous edition, and has dropped to #3 due to finishing worse than last year in both Fatalities Rate and Careless Driving rankings. They made improvements in Failure to Obey and Drunk Driving, but it wasn’t enough to keep Texas out of the “top 3″.

 

#1) South Carolina (tie)

Best Ranking Factor: Failure to Obey: 31st
Worst Ranking Factor:
Fatalities Rate: 1st


Montana and South Carolina could not be separated, each one finishing with a total score of 60, a staggering 148 points behind leaders Minnesota. South Carolina finished among the 10 worst states in Fatalities Rate (1st), Drunk Driving (8th), and Careless Driving (5th).

If it’s any consolation, South Carolina showed continued improvement from our previous editions of this study by ranking 8 places better in Failure to Obey than last time. Every little bit counts!

 

#1) Montana (tie)

Best Ranking Factor: Careless Driving: 44th
Worst Ranking Factor:
Drunk Driving: 1st


Although they finished among the 10 states with the lowest occurrence of Careless Driving, Montana drivers were among the 10 worst in all of the remaining categories, dropping 8 positions from their previous 9th-place finish. Where did they go wrong? They maintained their #1 rank for Drunk Driving, and declined in the Failure to Obey category. You could also argue that improvements in other states were a contributing factor to Montana being at the wrong end of the spectrum.

At least Montana drivers can take some solace in sharing the title of “Worst Drivers” with their fellow award winners in South Carolina.

 

Drunk Driving is a Big Part of the Problem

Every one of our “top 10″ worst states, landed  among the 10 worst offenders in the Drunk Driving category. Drinking and driving has serious consequences, and will never be worth it. Alcohol-impaired driving kills 28 people per day.

This is a deadly mistake to make that is easy to avoid. You won’t regret taking a few minutes to plan ahead and having a safe way to get home.

 

The Worst States tend to have the Most Careless Drivers

Of the 15 worst states, 11 of them were ranked in the bottom half of the table for Careless Driving. “In 2012, 4,743 pedestrians died in traffic crashes – a 6% increase from the number reported in 2011.”

What can you do to make a difference? Start by leaving your cell phone alone while driving. Only 11 states had a ban on talking on a hand-held cell phone while driving in 2012, and 9 states were lacking a ban on texting while driving (Source).

As a driver, building good scanning habits can really make a difference in crash prevention.

 

Controllables are the Key

The best question we can ask is, “How can we improve?”. Let’s focus on what we can control.

Out of the 20 best states, only 3 were ranked among the top 10 for Failure to Obey, Drunk Driving, and Speeding. These are three factors that are 100% controllable for drivers.

Taking responsibility for yourself in these areas by obeying traffic signals, wearing your seat belt, driving with a valid license, designating a driver who hasn’t been drinking, and operating at safe travel speeds can really make a difference.

There’s so much that you can’t control when you’re out on the road. This means that it’s incredibly important to control what you can and build good defensive driving habits.

Complete Rankings: Worst Drivers

– To sort table by category, click on header columns.

– Click here for the full stats and sources for each category. For all media inquiries please email: tyler@carinsurancecomparison.com

For all media inquiries please email: tyler@carinsurancecomparison.com

 

Previous Rankings (click cell below)

Worst Drivers 2013
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!

Methodology

The 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
  • Tickets
  • Careless Driving

We translated all of this information into one Total Score: the lower the score, the worse off the states were.

For example, the state with the most Careless Driving, Florida, got a 1 on the scale (District of Columbia is included in the rankings). The lower the score in each category, the worse the drivers, and the higher your state’s car insurance rates could be.

For a complete breakdown, along with the specific sources used for each scoring criteria, click here or checkout our summarized table below. For all media inquiries please email: tyler@carinsurancecomparison.com

Here are the Top 10, in descending order:

Ten States with the Worst Drivers :

(click here for rankings table)

 

#10) North Dakota

Best Ranking Factor: Tickets: 46th
Worst Ranking Factor:
 Drunk Driving: 2nd

north-dakota-worst-drivers

Source: commons.wikimedia.org

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) Montana

Best Ranking Factor: Tickets: 50th
Worst Ranking Factor: 
Fatalities Rate & Drunk Driving: 1st (the worst possible rank)

montana-worst-drivers

Source: en.wikipedia.org

Montana maintained the worst fatality rate per 100 million miles traveled (this year ranked #1), and received a worse Drunk Driving score than last time. What saved them from a lower overall score? Their rating of 50th when it comes to likelihood of getting a ticket.

#7 ) North Carolina (tie)

Best Ranking Factor: Drunk Driving: 21st
Worst Ranking Factor: 
Careless Driving: 8th

north-carolina-worst-drivers

Source: www.worldpropertychannel.com

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: 27th
Worst Ranking Factor: Failure to Obey: 4th

missouri-worst-drivers

Source: en.wikipedia.org

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) Florida

Best Ranking Factor: Drunk Driving: 34th
Worst Ranking Factor:
 Careless Driving: 1st

Florida-worst-drivers

Source: www.timeanddate.com

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 45th to 34th. Remember – lower ratings are worse.

#5) Alabama

Best Ranking Factor: Drunk Driving: 26th
Worst Ranking Factor: 
Tickets: 3rd

alabama-worst-drivers

Source: www.stateintegrity.org

Alabama just managed to stay out of the Top 5 last year, but a change in Careless Driving ranking from 45th to 16th in the nation really hurt them. They have improved or stayed the same in every other category, except for Ticketing Rate.

#4) Texas

Best Ranking Factor: Failure to Obey: 21st
Worst Ranking Factor:
 Drunk Driving: 5th

texas-worst drivers

Source: en.wikipedia.org

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 5th overall. Improvements (however slight) were made in the Fatalities Rate, Failure to Obey, and Ticketing Rate categories.

#3) Mississippi

Best Ranking Factor: Drunk Driving: 22nd
Worst Ranking Factor:
 Fatalities Rate: 5th

mississippi-worst-drivers

Source: en.wikipedia.org

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 (49th to 8th) and Drunk Driving (42nd to 22nd) make up the bulk of the difference.

#2) South Carolina

Best Ranking Factor: Failure to Obey: 29th
Worst Ranking Factor: 
Careless Driving: 50th

south-carolina-worst-drivers

Source: Wikimedia

The change in South Carolina’s Careless Driving rating from 49th best to 2nd worst 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 22nd to 3rd in the US. South Carolina can take some consolation in their improvement in the Failure to Obey category.

#1) Louisiana

Best Ranking Factor: Drunk Driving: 14th
Worst Ranking Factor: 
Careless Driving: 4th

louisiana-worst-states

Source: wikipedia.org

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 Driving

North 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 Drivers

The best that any of our Top 10 states finished in either of these categories was 27th, 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 Road

Of 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

– To sort table by category, click on header columns.

– Click here for the full stats and sources for each category. For all media inquiries please email: tyler@carinsurancecomparison.com

For all media inquiries please email: tyler@carinsurancecomparison.com

Worst Drivers 2011
It’s the eternal question: which state has the worst drivers? While you may think your state has the worst drivers in the nation, especially when that guy pulls an illegal left turn in front of you, we decided to put it to the test. With bad driving comes high car insurance rates so be careful!

We compiled data from three sources: the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (driving fatalities), the American Motorists Association (which states hand out the most tickets), and MADD (drunk drivers).

Then we translated all of this information into rankings: the lower the ranking, the worse the states were. For example, the state with the most tickets, Florida, got a 1 on the scale. Then we added up the numbers to give each state a score; the lower the score, the worse the drivers. If you find yourself in one of these states, expect your state rates for car insurance coverage to be higher than other states!

One can save on car insurance by taking the time to use our ZIP code search! We will help you find cheap car insurance for whatever state you live in!

The numbers surprised us. Here are the top 10 spots (11 states due to a tie at 10th place), in descending order:

Car insurance by state

The Ten States With the Worst Drivers

 

#10) South Carolina (tie)

South Carolina residents are not careless drivers: according to our data, they’re the third most careful drivers in the Union. But somehow, that doesn’t apply to stop signs or turn signals: they also pulled a miserable 45 for obeying the signs on the road. We’re pretty sure that’s why they pulled an abysmal 48 on the fatality rankings, locking them squarely in number 10. At number 10, South Carolina car insurance won’t be as high as some of the other states!

#10) Nevada (tie)

Nevada can be an expensive state if you were born with a lead foot – the state came in 3rd for ticketing. It’s also a state made up of formerly disobedient children, as can be seen by their abysmal rating of 7th worst state when it comes to obeying traffic laws. It’s not all gloom and doom though, Nevadians (Nevadans?) placed 47th when it came to drunk driving and 29th for careless driving.

#8) Alabama (tie)

Alabama residents are pretty careful too: they got a 7 in our rankings. But not careful enough: they got a 41 in disobeying traffic laws and a whopping 46 for tickets and awful 42 for fatalities. So if you’re going to a Crimson Tide game, drive carefully. There might be some crazy traffic laws in Alabama, but that doesn’t mean one can disobey them

#8) Montana (tie)

Good news: Montana had the highest ranking in tickets! Bad news: they had the lowest ranking in fatalities, the second lowest in drunk driving, and pulled a nasty 40 on carelessness. Maybe they should start ticketing more. Montana drivers should start being safer or else their tickets will raise their Montana car insurance!

#7) Kentucky

We’ll leave it to Kentucky to tell us which is worse: driving drunk or driving carelessly. They’ve got enough experience dealing with both to make an informed decision: they ranked 42 and 48, respectively. That means they’re the seventh worst state for fatalities…and, not coincidentally, seventh on the list. Maybe if drivers within Kentucky stopped breaking DUI laws, the statistics would be lower!

#6) Arizona

Arizona is out of the bottom twenty in only one place; carelessness, where it pulls a 29. No wonder it’s sixth on the list. Wonder how much Arizona car insurance is for being sixth on the “Worst Drivers” list? Compare car insurance and find out!

#5) Oklahoma

Oklahoma actually has one thing to be proud of: next to Florida, it has the best ranking out of the bottom ten for drunk driving. It sits at 25. The same isn’t true of fatalities or paying attention to signals, which is why it rounds out the bottom five. Drivers who have Oklahoma car insurance could help their state out by driving safely!

#3) Florida (tie)

Florida has at least one thing to be proud of: it’s in the top ten for drunken driving, at number 7. Unfortunately, it sits at the very bottom for tickets, and one away from the bottom slot for carelessness. All that puts it squarely in the bottom four, and makes Florida car insurance in the running for the highest state insurance!

#3) Texas (tie)

Texas is in the bottom twenty for every measure we had on this test, but it only gets in the bottom ten for one area: tickets. Unfortunately, its scores are so mediocre otherwise that it gets dragged down to number three. Which means Texas rates for car insurance can be higher than most states!

#2) Missouri

Missouri drivers get lots of tickets: Missouri scored a 45 on our rankings. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to teach Missouri drivers any lessons. Missouri is in the top ten for carelessness and drunken driving, and despite a decent score, 19, for obeying traffic laws, Missouri still wins the tarnished silver as the second worst state to drive in. Hopefully Missouri car insurance isn’t as high as their “Worst Drivers” ranking!

#1) Louisiana

Residents of the Bayou may object, but the numbers don’t lie: it’s in the bottom ten in all categories except one, failure to obey. It’s number eighteen there, but it’s so bad elsewhere that it beats Missouri by twelve points. With all of these “Worst Driver” factors, we hope Louisiana drivers are saving some money on their Louisiana coverage.

Be sure to check out the FREE tool below to compare car insurance rates with only your ZIP code!

 

Here are some surprising trends you can pull from the data:

The Further South You Get, the Worse It Is

The states with the best safety records tend to be up north. Massachusetts, for example, had the single lowest fatality rate of any state in the Union, according to the most recent statistics. Right behind the Bay State was Minnesota, which, despite ranking number four in the data for failure to obey traffic signals, was almost as safe.

Meanwhile, the further down the list you get, the more members of Dixie and the Old West start cropping up. The Southwest didn’t do much better; in all, the southern half of the country holds nine of the ten worst states.

This isn’t to say that if it’s cold and snowy you’re in the clear: Alaska and Montana were both in the bottom twenty-five.

states-with-worst-drivers

Once You Leave the Cities, It Gets Really Dangerous, Really Fast

Almost all of the states in the bottom ten are largely rural, agrarian states. But it’s worth noting that the data also reflects how much people drive. For example, a small state with a major urban center, like Massachusetts, will have lots of residents, but many of them won’t be getting behind the wheel, which helps skew the numbers in their favor. Compare this to states that don’t have a lot of public transportation. They’re going to have higher traffic fatalities practically by default.

There are exceptions: Texas, due to it being vast, is in the bottom 25, despite having Houston, Austin, and Dallas/Fort Worth as major commercial and urban areas.

traffic ticket

Ticketing Isn’t Much of a Deterrent

If you look at the rankings for the states that hand out the most tickets per capita, you’ll find something people may not like to hear: traffic tickets don’t have much of a deterring effect.

To be fair, part of that is our system. Florida, which hands out the most tickets, got a 1 added to its score, while Montana, which hands out the least, got a 50. On the other hand, they both wound up in the bottom fifteen of the list.

careless driving

The Best Way to Be the Worst State? Be a Careless Driver

Not shockingly, three of the ten worst states for drunk driving wound up in our top ten list. And, for failure to obey traffic signals, three states also bought a ticket onto the worst ten.

Careless driving? That made up five out of ten top-ranked states. Several states were ranked low in more than one category, but careless driving seems to be the real bullet: nine of the bottom twenty in carelessness made the bottom ten overall, compared to seven for failure to follow signals and eight for drunk driving.

All of this really drives home an important point: even if you follow traffic signals and drink responsibly, just get distracted by your cell phone and you’re as much of a menace as someone who staggers out of the bar and tries to drive home. That is why many state are making cell phone driving laws!

Complete Rankings

No matter where your state falls on our list, it’s best to be fully covered with quality auto insurance. To get the lowest rates for car insurance in your state, just type in your ZIP code into the box below, and we’ll give you the best car insurance quotes we can find, for FREE!

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