Worst Drivers By State


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




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!


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 higher the score, the worse off the states were.

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.

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: jeff@carinsurancecomparison.com

Here are the Top 10, in descending order:

Ten States with the Worst Drivers:


#10) North Dakota

Best Ranking Factor: Tickets: 6th
Worst Ranking Factor:
 Drunk Driving: 50th


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: 2nd
Worst Ranking Factor: 
Fatalities Rate & Drunk Driving: 51st (the worst possible rank)


Source: en.wikipedia.org

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


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: 25th
Worst Ranking Factor: Failure to Obey: 48th


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: 18th
Worst Ranking Factor:
 Careless Driving: 51st


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 7th to 18th. Remember – lower ratings are better.

#5) Alabama

Best Ranking Factor: Drunk Driving: 26th
Worst Ranking Factor: 
Tickets: 49th


Source: www.stateintegrity.org

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) Texas

Best Ranking Factor: Failure to Obey: 33rd
Worst Ranking Factor:
 Drunk Driving: 47th

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 47th overall. Improvements (however slight) were made in the Fatalities Rate, Failure to Obey, and Ticketing Rate categories.

#3) Mississippi

Best Ranking Factor: Drunk Driving: 30th
Worst Ranking Factor:
 Fatalities Rate: 47th


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 (3rd to 44th) and Drunk Driving (10th to 30th) make up the bulk of the difference.

#2) South Carolina

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


Source: Wikimedia

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) Louisiana

Best Ranking Factor: Drunk Driving: 38th
Worst Ranking Factor: 
Careless Driving: 48th


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 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 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: jeff@carinsurancecomparison.com

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

Previous Rankings (click cell below)

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 higher the ranking, the worse the states were. For example, the state with the most tickets, Florida, got a 50 on the scale. Then we added up the numbers to give each state a score; the higher 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, in descending order:

Car insurance by state

The Ten States With the Worst Drivers

#10) South Carolina

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!

#9) Alabama

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

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!

#4) Florida

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

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.


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 50 added to its score, while Montana, which hands out the least, got a 1. 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

State Fatalities Per Million Miles Ticketing Rank Drunk Failure to Obey Careless Total Score Worst Driver Rank
Louisiana 49 41 41 18 47 196 1
Missouri 34 45 44 19 42 184 2
Texas 35 47 31 38 32 183 3
Florida 37 50 7 40 49 183 4
Oklahoma 40 34 25 42 39 180 5
Arizona 39 40 37 33 29 178 6
Kentucky 44 16 42 17 48 167 7
Alabama 42 46 29 41 7 165 8
Montana 50 1 49 25 40 165 9
Nevada 41 48 4 44 22 159 10
South Carolina 48 33 30 45 3 159 11
North Carolina 33 43 21 30 31 158 12
North Dakota 26 3 33 50 45 157 13
Delaware 29 25 36 39 27 156 14
Tennessee 36 31 45 21 23 156 15
Kansas 25 28 32 26 41 152 16
Arkansas 46 19 17 20 50 152 17
Idaho 38 8 34 24 44 148 18
Georgia 31 49 11 43 9 143 19
Alaska 24 5 48 23 34 134 20
Iowa 27 36 2 49 18 132 21
South Dakota 28 4 46 46 8 132 22
Mississippi 45 39 10 3 35 132 23
New Mexico 32 10 9 28 46 125 24
Colorado 21 26 35 12 30 124 25
Pennsylvania 30 21 20 32 19 122 26
Hawaii 12 14 47 9 38 120 27
Wisconsin 14 18 43 15 28 118 28
New York 5 44 16 34 17 116 29
Vermont 11 17 40 22 26 116 30
Indiana 22 32 14 36 10 114 31
Michigan 8 27 27 37 14 113 32
West Virginia 47 7 39 4 16 113 33
Maryland 18 37 19 5 33 112 34
Minnesota 2 24 13 47 25 111 35
California 13 38 22 31 6 110 36
Wyoming 43 2 50 14 1 110 37
Washington 6 35 23 8 37 109 38
New Jersey 4 42 8 11 43 108 39
Utah 17 12 15 35 24 103 40
Ohio 20 29 3 29 20 101 41
Nebraska 19 9 1 48 21 98 42
Illinois 9 30 18 27 13 97 43
Maine 16 6 26 7 36 91 44
Oregon 23 11 38 6 11 89 45
New Hampshire 15 15 24 2 12 68 46
Virginia 10 23 6 16 5 60 47
Massachusetts 1 22 5 13 15 56 48
Connecticut 7 20 12 10 4 53 49
Rhode Island 3 13 28 1 2 47 50

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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