10 States with the Most Reckless Drivers [2021 Study]

Wyoming holds the number one spot in our list of the 10 worst states for reckless drivers with over 17 reckless driving fatal crashes for every 100,000 residents in 2019. Speeding is the great weakness for our 10 states with the most reckless drivers. The second-deadliest driving event was rollover car crashes. Speeding and rollover crashes made up a combined 2,713 fatal car crashes in just 10 states in 12 months.

Chris Tepedino is a feature writer that has written extensively about car insurance for numerous websites. He has a college degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and has experience reporting, researching investigative pieces, and crafting detailed, data-driven features. His works have been featured on CB Blog Nation, Flow Words, Healing Law, WIBW Kansas, and Cinncinati.com. H...

Full Bio →

Written by

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Feb 25, 2021

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident car insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one car insurance company and cannot guarantee quotes from any single company.

Our partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from top car companies please enter your ZIP code above to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

Here's What You Need to Know...

  • Reckless driving accounted for more than 19,000 traffic deaths in 2019
  • The state average for reckless driving fatal crashes was 5.8 per 100,000 persons
  • The South and West were the two worst regions with average rankings of 21
  • The Northeast was the best region with an average ranking of 43

States with the Most Reckless Driving Fatal Crashes

We know it when we see it.

That driver on the interstate flying over 100 miles per hour, weaving in and out of traffic. The driver barreling through a construction zone with just feet separating them from construction workers. The two cars revving up at a red light only to take off when it turns green, street racing and putting other people on the street in danger.

Reckless driving, the official name for this deadly driving behavior, comes with thoughts of unnecessary traffic deaths. This article covers the 10 states with the most reckless drivers.

In the frequently asked questions section, we’ll cover some additional and related topics like the most aggressive drivers by state in 2020, the most dangerous states to drive in in 2019, the best drivers by state, and the worst drivers by state.

And, finally, if you’re ready to start searching for car insurance quotes, a great way to start is to check out our compare car insurance companies page where you’ll find a side-by-side comparison of major and minor car insurance companies.

Now, back to the states with the most reckless drivers. Ready? Some of these states may surprise you.

10 States with the Most Reckless Drivers

Before we jump into the ranking, take a look at how the 10 states with the most reckless drivers stacked up in each category. The graphic below shows the number of fatal crashes each of the 10 worst states had for our five categories: hit and runs, police pursuit, rollover, speeding, and work zone.

2019 Reckless Driving Fatal Crash Totals

Each state’s best category was police pursuit except for one: South Carolina, which had a lower number of fatal crashes in work zones than in police pursuits. Work zones, police pursuits, and hit and runs were the three categories in which all states generally had the lowest number of fatal crashes.

These are rare incidents compared to our other two categories: rollover and speeding. Now, starting in the 10th spot of our states with the most reckless drivers is a state known for its vast expanses of land at straight highways that go off into the distance. Which one is it?

Scroll down to start our ranking of the states with the most reckless drivers.

#10 – North Dakota

Total # of Reckless Driving Fatal Crashes (2019): 69
Reckless Driving Fatal Crashes (every 100K residents): 9.05
Best Category: Police Pursuit
Worst Category: Rollover

North Dakota, ranked 10th in this list of the states with the most reckless drivers, totaled 69 reckless driving fatal crashes in 2019. When compared to its population, it had 9.05 reckless driving fatal crashes per 100,000 residents. This was 3.25 higher than the per capita number for all states.

North Dakota’s best category was police pursuit, for which it had no fatal crashes. North Dakota was just one of two states in our list of the 10 states with the most reckless drivers to have zero police pursuit fatal crashes.

Its worst category was rollover, which accounted for 37 deaths. This amounted to 54 percent of North Dakota’s total reckless driving fatal crashes in 2019.

Rollovers can be synonymous with reckless driving because they generally require a high speed and pose additional dangers to other drivers and pedestrians on the road.

#9 – West Virginia

Total # of Reckless Driving Fatal Crashes (2019): 163
Reckless Driving Fatal Crashes (every 100K residents): 9.10
Best Category: Police Pursuit
Worst Category: Speeding

Ranked ninth in this list of the 10 states with the most reckless drivers, West Virginia saw 163 reckless driving fatal crashes in 2019, leading to a 9.1 reckless driving fatal crash per 100,000 residents per capita number.

That is 3.3 above the average for all states. Its best category was in police pursuit, where there were just four fatal crashes.

West Virginia’s four police pursuit fatal crashes accounted for just 3 percent of its overall reckless driving fatal crashes in 2019.

Its worst category was in speeding, where it saw 79 fatal crashes. Speeding fatal crashes accounted for 49 percent of all reckless driving fatal crashes in 2019.

Often, situations like hit and runs or police pursuits result in damages to numerous cars, rather than just a typical two-car accident. Sometimes these incidents are due to the other driver not having insurance, which may cause them to panic after an accident and try to flee.

A little over 10 percent of the population in West Virginia does not have car insurance. If one of these drivers were to hit you, your insurance company might not reimburse you for the damages to your car.

Even with additional cheap West Virginia car insurance (such as adding underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage), you can protect yourself financially if someone without car insurance damages your vehicle.

#8 – Arkansas

Total # of Reckless Driving Fatal Crashes (2019): 283
Reckless Driving Fatal Crashes (every 100K residents): 9.38
Best Category: Police Pursuit
Worst Category: Rollover & Speeding (Tie)

Arkansas, ranked eighth in this list of the 10 states with the most reckless drivers, saw 283 reckless driving fatal crashes in 2019, resulting in 9.83 reckless driving fatal crashes per 100,000 residents. This is 4.03 higher than the national average.

Arkansas’s best category was police pursuit, where it had just four fatal reckless driving crashes. This accounted for one percent of its overall reckless driving fatal crashes.

Its worst category was actually a tie between speeding and rollover, each with 121 reckless driving fatal crashes. Separately, each accounted for 43 percent of Arkansas’s reckless driving fatal crashes. Together, they combined for 86 percent of its reckless driving fatal crashes.

#7 – Missouri

Total # of Reckless Driving Fatal Crashes (2019): 597
Reckless Driving Fatal Crashes (every 100K residents): 9.73
Best Category: Police Pursuit
Worst Category: Speeding

Ranked seventh in this list of the 10 states with the most reckless drivers, Missouri saw 597 reckless driving fatal crashes in 2019 for a per capita statistic of 9.73 reckless driving fatal crashes per 100,000 residents. This is a little over 3.9 more than the national average.

Missouri’s best category was police pursuit, where it saw just 16 fatal reckless driving crashes. This accounted for just 3 percent of its overall fatal reckless driving crashes.

Its worst category was speeding, with 50 percent of its fatal reckless driving crashes coming from that category.

#6 – Alabama

Total # of Reckless Driving Fatal Crashes (2019): 480
Reckless Driving Fatal Crashes (every 100K residents): 9.79
Best Category: Police Pursuit
Worst Category: Rollover

Alabama, ranked sixth in this list of the 10 states with the most reckless drivers, saw 480 reckless driving fatal crashes in 2019, creating a per capita statistic of 9.79 reckless driving fatal crashes per 100,000 residents. This is four above the nationwide average of 5.8.

Alabama’s best category was police pursuit, for which there were 12 fatal crashes in 2019. This is just 3 percent out of all of its reckless driving fatal crashes.

Its worst category was rollover, where it saw 228 reckless driving fatal crashes. This accounted for 48 percent of its reckless driving fatal crashes in 2019.

#5 – Mississippi

Total # of Reckless Driving Fatal Crashes (2019): 301
Reckless Driving Fatal Crashes (every 100K residents): 10.11
Best Category: Police Pursuit
Worst Category: Rollover

Ranked fifth in this list of the 10 states with the most reckless drivers, Mississippi saw 301 reckless driving fatal crashes in 2019 for a per capita statistic of 10.11 reckless driving fatal crashes per 100,000 residents. This is 4.31 higher than the national average.

Its best category was police pursuit, where it had just four fatal reckless driving crashes, accounting for just 1 percent of its total.

Mississippi’s second-worst category was work zone, with 12 fatal crashes happening in work zones in 2019.

Its worst category was rollover, where it saw 164 fatal reckless driving crashes, amounting to 55 percent of its total. Although reckless driving can raise car insurance rates as a whole within an area, Mississippi’s average car insurance rates are still lower than the nationwide average.

That’s a job well done.

#4 – Montana

Total # of Reckless Driving Fatal Crashes (2019): 123
Reckless Driving Fatal Crashes (every 100K residents): 11.51
Best Category: Police Pursuit
Worst Category: Rollover

Montana, ranked fourth on this list of the 10 states with the most reckless drivers, saw 123 reckless driving fatal crashes in 2019 or 11.51 reckless driving fatal crashes per 100,000 residents. This is about 5.7 higher than the average for all states.

Its best category was police pursuit with just two reckless driving fatal crashes, accounting for 2 percent of its total.

Hit and run fatal crashes and work zone fatal crashes in Montana were also low, with Montana having four hit and run reckless driving fatal crashes and five work zone reckless driving fatal crashes.

Its worst category was rollover, where it saw 61 reckless driving fatal crashes, accounting for 50 percent of its overall reckless driving fatal crashes in 2019.

While Montana’s average car insurance rates are lower than the nationwide average, it’s important to take caution when driving in the state as it routinely is one of the states with the worst drivers year after year.

#3 – South Carolina

Total # of Reckless Driving Fatal Crashes (2019): 658
Reckless Driving Fatal Crashes (every 100K residents): 12.78
Best Category: Work Zone
Worst Category: Speeding

Ranked third in this list of the 10 states with the most reckless drivers, South Carolina saw 658 reckless driving fatal crashes in 2019 or 12.78 reckless driving fatal crashes per 100,000 residents. This is a full seven above the average for all states.

It is the only state in our list where its best category was not police pursuit. South Carolina’s best category was work zone, with just 12 reckless driving fatal crashes happening in a work zone in 2019, accounting for 2 percent of its overall reckless driving fatal crashes total.

Its worst category was speeding, where it had 416 fatal crashes, accounting for 63 percent of its total. The difference in speeding fatal crashes and the fatal crashes for the other categories was so pronounced that South Carolina’s second-worst category (rollover) had less than half the fatal crashes that were in the speeding category.

#2 – New Mexico

Total # of Reckless Driving Fatal Crashes (2019): 296
Reckless Driving Fatal Crashes (every 100K residents): 14.12
Best Category: Police Pursuit
Worst Category: Speeding

New Mexico, ranked second in this list of the 10 states with the most reckless drivers, saw 296 reckless driving fatal crashes in 2019 or 14.12 reckless driving fatal crashes per 100,000 residents. This is around 8.3 higher than the national average.

New Mexico’s best category was police pursuit, where it had just four reckless driving fatal crashes, amounting to 1 percent of its total reckless driving fatal crashes.

Its worst category was speeding, with 130 reckless driving fatal crashes. This accounted for 44 percent of its overall reckless driving fatal crashes.

#1 – Wyoming

Total # of Reckless Driving Fatal Crashes (2019): 99
Reckless Driving Fatal Crashes (every 100K residents): 17.11
Best Category: (tie) Hit and Runs & Police Pursuit
Worst Category: Rollover

Ranked first in this list of the 10 states with the most reckless drivers, Wyoming saw 99 reckless driving fatal crashes in 2019 or 17.11 reckless driving fatal crashes per 100,000 residents. This is 11.3 higher than the national average.

Wyoming’s best category was actually a tie between hit and runs and police pursuit. There were zero reckless driving fatal crashes in each of those categories for Wyoming in 2019.

Wyoming’s worst category was rollover, which accounted for 55 reckless driving fatal accidents or 55 percent of its total reckless driving fatal accidents.

Now, what does reckless driving look like on video? Check out our reckless driving video page for adrenaline-inducing but scary driving behavior.

Common Behaviors Among the Most Reckless Drivers

So, we’ve gone over the 10 states with the most reckless drivers. Now, what do they have in common?

The following table shows the combined metrics of those in the two graphics near the top of the page: reckless driving fatal crashes, all the categories, and reckless driving fatal crashes per capita.

10 States with the Most Reckless Drivers
RankStateReckless Driving Fatal Crashes per CapitaReckless Driving Fatal CrashesHit and RunsPolice PursuitsRolloverSpeedingWork Zone
1Wyoming17.11990055377
2New Mexico14.1229626412413012
3South Carolina12.78658341518141612
4Montana11.511234261515
5Mississippi10.1130119416410212
6Alabama9.79480301222819317
7Missouri9.73597381622729818
8Arkansas9.3828317412112120
9West Virginia9.101638464798
10North Dakota9.05692037246

Some of these 10 worst states for reckless driving are also in our ranking of the 10 states with the worst overall drivers.

South Carolina and New Mexico, in particular, are featured on that list seemingly year after year. In the cases of many of these states, bad driving is bad driving. Even though we have a separate methodology for this ranking, those same states still appear.

Combined, the 10 states with the most reckless drivers totaled 3,069 reckless driving fatal crashes in 2019. The breakdown of reckless driving fatal crashes for each category is as follows:

  • Hit and runs: 178 (6%)
  • Police pursuit: 61 (2%)
  • Rollover: 1,262 (41%)
  • Speeding: 1,451 (47%)
  • Work zone: 117 (4%)

Rollover and speeding dominated the reckless driving fatal crashes and became the force behind our methodology. Still, the other three categories (hit and runs, police pursuit, and work zone) still amounted to 12 percent of all reckless driving fatal crashes.

There was one very large discrepancy: In South Carolina, reckless driving fatal crashes involving speeding were so high they more than doubled its second-worst category. For now, that’s enough of our 10 worst states for reckless drivers.

How does this issue impact the entire nation?

Nationwide Trends in Reckless Driving Fatal Crashes

To analyze reckless driving on a national level, we researched all the statistics that we did for the 10 worst states. Then we put together two interactive graphs that show each state’s statistics in regards to reckless driving fatal crashes per capita and a breakdown of all the categories used in our methodology.

The first graph below shows each state’s number of reckless driving fatal crashes, its 2019 population (from the U.S. Census Bureau), and its reckless driving fatal crashes per 100,000 residents, which was the metric we used to form our ranking.

The graph is interactive. Press your finger down on a state if you’re on mobile or hover your cursor over it if you’re on a laptop or desktop computer to see that specific state’s statistics.

View as image

While population naturally varies a great deal, there isn’t a correlation between population size and reckless driving. Florida and California, for instance, two of the most populous states, are in the better half of the sample size, while Texas, the second-most-populous states, is in the worse half.

The number of reckless driving fatal crashes per capita varies considerably between all states. The lowest was 2.2 reckless driving fatal crashes per 100,000 residents in New York to the highest being 17.11 in Wyoming.

The graph below shows the breakdown of all those states within each of our categories: hit and runs, police pursuit, rollover, speeding, and work zone.

Like the other, it is interactive. Press down on a state with your finger if you’re on mobile or hover your cursor over a state if you’re on a laptop or desktop computer to see a specific state’s statistics.

View as image

To see how the 19,048 reckless driving fatal crashes for the entire nation broke down, we organized them into our five categories like we did the for the 10 worst states:

  • Hit and runs: 1,939 (10%)
  • Police pursuit: 356 (2%)
  • Rollover: 7,170 (38%)
  • Speeding: 8,544 (45%)
  • Work zone: 1,039 (5%)

When comparing the percentage shares for the reckless driving fatal crashes of the 10 worst states to the percentage shares for all states, there are some surprising discrepancies.

The number of hit and run reckless driving fatal crashes is 10 percent for all states but just 6 percent for our 10 worst states.

Reckless driving fatal crashes involving rollovers drop by 4 percent from the 10 worst states to the overall average. Speeding reckless driving fatal crashes drop by 2 percent.

Reckless driving fatal crashes in work zones actually jump up 1.5 percent when looking at the entire country compared to just the 10 worst states.

Finally, as often seen in these types of lists, the South and the West are the regions that fare the poorest. When all the states in each region are averaged, both the South and the West have an average ranking of 21. The Midwest has an average ranking of 27 and the Northeast 43.

Car Insurance and Consequences of Reckless Driving

Reckless driving has serious consequences, whether you’re pulled over and receive a ticket or you cause a deadly and fatal car accident. The impacts on a driver financially in either case can be dire. There is also the possibility the state will take away the driver’s license.

Why people drive recklessly, whether it’s a need for speed or they are in a rush, doesn’t justify what can be catastrophic consequences that result in deaths, jail time, and fines running into the tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.

We’ve seen in this study that reckless driving can take many forms and result in some of the most dangerous types of driving behavior or car crashes. In the end, it is about lives lost: for that driver in particular or any collision they cause with other motorists or pedestrians.

There is a good chance the driver convicted for reckless driving will be labeled a high-risk driver, which could result in the loss of their license, serious fines, or jail time.

They may also be barred from the regular car insurance marketplace and forced to buy high-risk car insurance. These often come in the form of SR-22s or FR-44s, which are certificates of insurance, essentially formal legal documents saying the person has at least the minimum insurance to drive.

These often come at a much higher cost than regular insurance, which can impact someone’s future for years to come.

Causes and Results of Reckless Driving: Personal Interviews

Now that we’ve covered the 10 states with the most reckless drivers, it’s time to get to the thoughts and analysis of those on the front lines. In this section, we feature interviews from accident attorneys, a parole officer, and a representative from a certified car repair oversight organization.

They give insight not just into the causes of reckless driving but how dangerous it can be, especially for victims of this crime.

experts around the world

How would you define reckless driving?

“I follow the legal definition used by most states in civil matters. This definition would be when a driver is aware of the substantial harm their actions could inflict, but they take that risk and they continue to act in that manner anyway.

Reckless drivers are disregarding the consequences their actions may have for themselves and others.”

What are the dangers of reckless driving for that driver and for those around them?

“Reckless driving substantially increases the risk for an accident or fatality. More often than not, what we see are reckless drivers walking away nearly unharmed, and innocent victims either killed or severely injured. These injuries can affect them for the rest of their lives.

Reckless driving can also lead to criminal charges against the reckless driver. The punishment can be severe.

The other issue is the financial damages that reckless driving causes for victims who sometimes need medical care and assistance for the remainder of their lives or who are unable to work as a result of an accident with a reckless driver.

Overall, reckless driving can completely change family dynamics for both victims and reckless drivers.”

What are some of the ways your community is working to reduce reckless driving?

“It takes a combined community effort to diminish reckless driving. I live in Houston, Texas.

Texas is a very conservative state. Depending on the county, judges make sure to issue the appropriate fine or sentence against reckless drivers to set an example for those who even think about replicating those actions.

We often see our diligent judges suspending licenses to keep certain drivers out of the public roadways.

Our law enforcement officers are also particularly strict in issuing traffic citations for almost any sign of reckless driving.

Additionally, there are several organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving which offer cab rides or rideshares during holidays to avoid drunk driving.

Similarly, businesses are on a trend of paying for employees’ taxis after business events (like holiday parties) to avoid drunk driving. Scholarships are also being awarded to those who find creative ways to campaign against texting and driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Texas Department of Transportation launched campaigns like the following:

  • Heads Up, Texas
  • Talk, Text, Crash
  • U Drive. U Text. U Pay

These safety initiatives help to raise awareness about the dangers of texting while driving. Despite these efforts, reckless driving continues to be rampant, and we need more peer accountability to keep people safe.”

Do you believe that punishments for reckless driving are high enough in your area?

“It really depends on the county. I don’t believe the punishments for certain reckless driving is high enough in general. For example, texting while driving or drunk driving continue to affect the lives of many individuals.

If there is not a death involved, some of these perpetrators can walk away without serving time. Since I see first-hand how the lives of my clients are constantly shattered by reckless driving, I am a huge advocate for harsher punishments against reckless drivers.”

Are there circumstances in which a person is more likely to drive recklessly?

“Yes, driving under the influence or while using a cellphone tends to be the leading causes of reckless driving.

Every time you text, you take your eyes off the road for at least five seconds. If you’re driving 55 miles per hour, that means you will drive the length of a football field without looking up at the road.

Distracted driving is reckless driving. Distractions can be visual (looking up at a billboard or down at your phone), manual (snacking or texting with one hand), or even cognitive (letting your mind wander).

There’s also a hypocrisy problem. In AAA’s latest Traffic Safety Culture survey, the vast majority of American drivers labeled typing, reading, and talking on a cell phone while driving as dangerous. However, they also admitted to having done these things themselves within the last month!

Additionally, distracted driving often plays a part in Uber accidents and Lyft accidents because the drivers must frequently check their phones for directions.”

Is driving recklessly associated more with particular age groups or demographics in your area?

“We often see data and studies separated into smaller categories instead of looking at the big picture of reckless driving. For example, the CDC issued a report in 2020 where it noted that car accidents were the leading cause of death for teens, and at the same time, it found high levels of distracted driving and cellphone addiction reported by teenagers.

The numbers are incredibly shocking. Teen drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are four times more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident than adult drivers. Risks increase with each additional passenger added to the vehicle.

While some of this may be due to inexperience, not recklessness, young male drivers were statistically proven to be more likely to speed or drive drunk. As for drunk driving, drivers between the ages of 21 to 34 represent the highest percentage of reported drunk drivers involved in motor vehicle collisions.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also reported that men are most likely to be involved in a crash, with four male drunk drivers reported for every female drunk driver.”

Jessica Rodriguez-Wahlquist

Jessica Rodriguez-Wahlquist is an attorney at Houston Car Accident Lawyer.
She specializes in catastrophic injury cases.


How would you define reckless driving?

“Reckless driving is needlessly endangering the public. In all states, a driver is never allowed to needlessly endanger the public. If he does and as a result, someone is hurt, the reckless driver is responsible for the harm.”

What are the dangers of reckless driving for that driver and those around them?

“The most harm that reckless driving can cause is death. When someone drives recklessly the chance of serious bodily harm or death increases dramatically. This applies to the driver, passengers, and the community.

Statistics show that reckless driving causes 33 percent of all traffic deaths in the United States. Driving recklessly on the road is like allowing a doctor to perform surgery while intoxicated; no matter how careful the doctor is, there is a significantly greater chance the patient is going to get hurt badly.”

What are some of the ways your community is working to reduce reckless driving?

“In Florida, concerned communities are using red-light cameras to deter reckless driving. Also, some Florida communities are providing better drivers education before new drivers are licensed. Some communities have floated the idea of age limits to deter reckless driving by older drivers.”

Do you believe that punishments for reckless driving are high enough in your area?

“The biggest issue in my area (South Florida) is enforcement or lack thereof. For example, I was driving home, stopped at a red light, when another driver coming blew through a red light just as it turned. A police officer sitting right in front of me did nothing. So the reckless driver continued on his way, needlessly endangering the public, without any consequence.

When reckless drivers are caught in my area, they often hire a ticket attorney, who gets the citation dismissed. This is because cops don’t have the time to go to court for every ticket they write. If they don’t show up, the ticket gets dismissed. The public knows this, so the vicious cycle continues, making our community more dangerous.”

Are there circumstances in which a person is more likely to drive recklessly? Is driving recklessly associated more with particular age groups or demographics in your area?

“If a driver is in a hurry, that can lead a person to drive recklessly. Also, in certain circumstances, anger and frustration (i.e. road rage) can cause a driver to needlessly endanger the public.

Age can also be a factor. Younger drivers tend to drive more recklessly, which I attribute to a lack of experience and the feeling they’re invincible. Older drivers can also be a danger. For them, vision or cognitive issues are typically to blame.”

Micah LongoMicah Longo is a founding member of The Longo Firm.
He has been a licensed attorney for over 7 years.


“Reckless driving is not caused only by extreme speeding or ignoring road safety signs.

Instead, tailgating (when a motorist drives too close to the car in front and doesn’t leave sufficient distance to brake in time if needed), swapping mindlessly between lanes, and even driving under drug, alcohol and over-the-counter medication consumption are major contributors to reckless driving.

The dangers of reckless driving, of course, range from minor injuries to more severe ones, like death and lifelong trauma.

In Mauritius, major campaigns are conducted to eliminate distracted driving. These aim to educate drivers about how checking or changing the GPS, putting on makeup, and even engaging in a heated conversation with a passenger may result in accidents.

Unfortunately, just fines, tickets, and massive national campaigns are not enough to deter reckless driving. Instead, recurrent and rigorous patrolling and speed cameras act as major deterrents. In Australia, doubling the demerits point systems keeps reckless driving at bay on public holidays when the tendency to engage in it is higher than usual.

These points are black marks on one’s driving record and can lead to a license suspension. It is interesting to note that not all states in Australia make use of the double demerits system. Yet, this has less to do with any social demographic. Instead, this could simply be because of less car ownership in Australia than there is in the densely populated states.

Reckless driving can have serious consequences, and regardless of what causes it, reckless driving may be curbed with a combination of various road safety regulations as well as with mindfulness and civic responsibility from the person behind the steering wheel.”

Pawena KaniahPawena Kaniah writes about car insurance for Budget Direct Insurance.
Insurance coverage for reckless driving is one of her areas of expertise.


“Reckless driving can be seen in a number of ways, from speeding, using your mobile phone whilst driving, or simply having road rage. We may all have experienced some sort of reckless driving.

The biggest dangers are for those around. Many people think that they can multitask whilst driving and use their mobile phone. However, your reaction time is reduced by 43 percent when performing another task when driving. This includes changing songs or radio stations.

Although communities around the world are changing their ways to tackle reckless and dangerous driving, it doesn’t mean that their ways work.

For example, we have seen an introduction of infrared cameras in order to catch mobile phone users whilst driving; however, this doesn’t mean that every user is picked up, due to speed and distance away from the camera while they are using their mobile devices.

Fines and tickets are a useful way of reducing reckless driving, but only temporarily.

Courses and classes for every time someone was to make this mistake would be a much more beneficial way of reducing recklessness in the future.

Believe it or not, your surroundings can actually make a difference in the way you drive. For example, listening to fast beat music can change your perception of speed and actually make you drive faster. This mainly concerns the younger demographics that do not have much experience with speed and how easy it is to create damage at just 10 mph.”

Michael LoweMichael Lowe is the CEO of Car Passionate, a resource for car lovers.
His company gives car repair lessons and reviews auto parts and products.


“One component of reckless driving that is often ignored is the safety of a vehicle that has been previously repaired, as an unsafe repair can lead to dangerous, reckless driving conditions.

Even when a driver does everything right – such as practicing defensive driving along with avoiding distracted or reckless behavior on the road, they are only as safe as the road conditions and the repairs they received on that vehicle.

An incorrectly performed repair can cause dangerous driving conditions and could put other drivers at risk, similar to driving while intoxicated, speeding, or distracted driving using a cell phone or interacting with the radio or passengers in a way that redirects attention from the road.

Reckless driving causes a chain reaction that can lead to traffic jams, car repairs, property damage, bodily harm, and – tragically – even death.

Reckless driving can often be avoided by following the rules of the road and making sure that any vehicle you drive in (that has previously been in an accident) has received a fully documented certified repair from a Certified Collision Repair Provider.

It is important that this repair provider has been independently certified as having the right tools, training, and equipment to be independently inspected by a non-profit consumer advocacy group.

Certified repairs retain all repair details by VIN and document that the repairer followed manufacturers’ repair procedures for your brand of vehicle, safety scans, correct paints use, etc.

When one gets behind the wheel, it is essential that they trust the safety of the vehicle they’re driving and know that every repair has been certified as meeting or exceeding industry standards and manufacturer’s safety standards and repair procedures for their vehicle.

Reckless driving in a badly repaired car is avoidable and safety should be your first priority. A ‘safe ride’ protects you and ensures the safety of your family, passengers, pedestrians, and every driver on the road.

One important way every driver can lessen the impact of reckless driving in any state is by demanding smart collision care! This means asking for Certified Repair that is fully documented using blockchain technology principles.

Getting a certified repair will ensure that the best and latest repair procedures have been followed and documented, which helps drivers get back on the road in a vehicle that has the functionality, durability, and safety to take them where they need to go.

Today’s automobiles are like computers on wheels with ‘intelligent’ features designed to keep drivers and passengers as safe as possible. However, these ‘smart,’ automated features require smart collision care by properly trained technicians.

When making a certified repair, these qualified technicians will follow the manufacturer’s collision repair procedures to help restore the vehicle back to the manufacturer’s specifications. Without following these procedures, reckless and unsafe driving conditions will likely be the result.

Certified Repairs also grant each consumer access to a meticulous record of their vehicle’s repairs, including photographs of every tool and piece of equipment used, to back up their provider’s commitment to quality.

This record is even linked to their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) so that they can refer to it later on. Again, this keeps drivers safer on dangerous roads because it holds body shops accountable for their quality standards and care

In Orange County, California, where I reside, the biggest cost of reckless driving is the safety cost. In areas with overcrowded highway conditions, some reckless drivers will be able to avoid getting a ticket, but we all pay the price if cars are on the road with faulty or if incorrectly performed repairs are overlooked and those drivers continue to drive dangerously without consequence.

Winter weather conditions can create havoc on California roadways, especially when reckless drivers are present.

Rain, fog, fire, smoke, and high winds can contribute to accidents caused by careless, distracted drivers or drivers in incorrectly repaired vehicles.

Major events and holidays also see a notable increase in reckless driving, especially Independence Day, New Year’s Eve, and Super Bowl Sunday, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In Southern California, reckless driving is often associated with street racing, both on motorcycles and in cars. Teenage drivers and the elderly are also notorious for driving carelessly, while distracted, or under the influence. According to the American Council on Science and Health, this holds true across the United States.”

Cary Randolph FullerCary Randolph Fuller works at Assured Performance Collision Care.
This organization inspects and certifies auto repair shops in the U.S.


“Reckless driving is driving without consideration of other people’s safety. Types of reckless driving including speeding, running stop signs, and drunk driving. Reckless driving is different from careless driving in that reckless drivers pose a higher risk of danger. Careless driving includes tailgating and sudden braking.

The effects of reckless driving can be deadly. I’ve actually witnessed people get seriously injured and harmed due to reckless driving. I myself have almost lost my life due to reckless driving.

Reckless driving can also be costly in terms of medical bills. If a reckless driver injures someone or if the driver is injured himself, he or she can be charged tens of thousands of dollars in hospital bills.

My community is working to reduce reckless driving with speed cameras. I drive mostly in Queens and Manhattan.

A first conviction for reckless driving is up to 30 days of jail time and/or a fine of $100-$300. A second offense is up to 90 days of jail time and a fine of $100-$525. A third offense for reckless driving is up to 180 days of jail time and/or a fine of $100-$1,125.

Punishments for reckless driving are clearly not high enough in my area because people continue to speed. Different circumstances vary how severe the punishment will actually be.

During nighttime and times where traffic is light, people are more likely to drive recklessly. Driving recklessly is more associated with drivers ages 16-19. They usually have less consideration for other drivers on the road and are more likely to speed on highways and local roads.”

Marcos MartinezMarcos Martinez writes on his blog, Men Who Brunch.
He works full-time as a parole officer in law enforcement.


How would you define reckless driving?

“While the legal definition varies from state to state, reckless driving often involves operating a vehicle in a manner that puts people or property in harm’s way, whether such actions are intentional or not.

Under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1212, drivers may be charged with reckless driving if she or he drives or uses any motor vehicle, motorcycle, or any other vehicle in a manner that unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway or unreasonably endangers users of the public highway.”

What are the dangers of reckless driving for that driver and for those around them?

“Reckless driving can result in property damage, injuries, or even death. Reckless drivers may get into an accident where they themselves may suffer serious or lethal injuries as well as damage to their vehicle and surrounding public or private property.

If the accident involves another vehicle or pedestrian, the other driver and their passengers may suffer serious or fatal injuries as well as damage to their vehicle.”

What are some of the ways your community is working to reduce reckless driving?

“New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio launched Vision Zero, a city-wide initiative to reduce accidents and save lives. As part of the Vision Zero program, the city has led education initiatives and legislative actions to reduce reckless driving in the city.”

Do you believe that punishments for reckless driving are high enough in your area?

“In New York, reckless driving is classified as a misdemeanor offense. Although less serious than a felony charge, misdemeanors can still result in jail time, fines, and a permanent criminal record.

The fines can range from about $100 to $300 for a first-time offense. A second-time offense can be upwards of $525, and a third-time offense can be well over $1,000.

In addition, if a driver has been convicted of reckless driving he or she may get points on his or her license, which could result in higher insurance rates and loss of license at 11 or more points in an 18-month period, according to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles.”

Are there circumstances in which a person is more likely to drive recklessly?

“Use of drugs or alcohol can often inhibit a driver’s ability to make smart, conscious decisions behind the wheel. Road rage can also cause people to speed, act aggressively toward other drivers, tailgate, or lose control of the vehicle.”

Is driving recklessly associated more with particular age groups or demographics in your area?

“According to the New York State Department of Health, teen drivers are more likely to get into an accident due to speeding or driving at an unsafe speed for conditions, driving inattentively or distractedly, failing to yield the way to other drivers, following other vehicles too closely, and inexperienced driving.

However, I feel that anyone at any age can be a reckless driver, some not realizing they are driving in a manner that could put other people and property at harm.

It’s important to always focus on the road, drive safely, follow traffic laws, avoid texting or using a phone while driving, and never get behind the wheel under the influence of drugs, alcohol, and some prescription medications that warn against operating a motor vehicle while taking them.”

David PerecmanDavid Perecman is the Founder and Lead Attorney at The Perecman Firm.
He has worked in Personal Injury Law for 40 years.

Full Study Results: All States (& D.C.) Ranked by Reckless Driving

If your state was not featured in the top 10 list of states with the most reckless drivers, you’re probably anxious to know where it stands. The following table contains the full ranking of all states and Washington, D.C.

The third column (reckless driving fatal crashes per capita) is the most important. The other columns show the fatal crashes per category that we’ve covered in previous sections.

Reckless Driving Statistics [All States + D.C.]
RankState/DistrictReckless Driving Fatal Crashes per CapitaReckless Driving Fatal CrashesHit and RunsPolice PursuitsRolloverSpeedingWork Zone
1Wyoming17.11990055377
2New Mexico14.1229626412413012
3South Carolina12.78658341518141612
4Montana11.511234261515
5Mississippi10.1130119416410212
6Alabama9.79480301222819317
7Missouri9.73597381622729818
8Arkansas9.3828317412112120
9West Virginia9.101638464798
10North Dakota9.05692037246
11Oklahoma8.2632728914511629
12Arizona7.9758056720228728
13Texas7.762,25022647769992216
14Colorado7.504322981712159
15Kansas7.382157695989
16Idaho7.331311279454
17Alaska7.24531021265
18Tennessee7.01479571423215422
19South Dakota7.01621136213
20Nebraska6.5712731653919
21Kentucky6.40286153169936
22Wisconsin6.39372241014715635
23North Carolina6.3766861929528518
24Georgia6.21659931727822051
25Indiana6.12412441414818125
26Hawaii5.798211019484
27Oregon5.74242143971253
28Louisiana5.612612941328511
29Virginia5.46466371716920934
30Maine5.43731030420
31Iowa5.3616956816611
32Illinois5.30672942118135026
33Vermont5.29330012192
34Nevada5.2616217061795
35California5.132,0273064064696273
36Ohio5.1159752921929225
37Pennsylvania5.1065347917740614
38Delaware5.0349429304
39Florida4.851,0422046439273120
40Michigan4.8248150617523218
41Utah4.5514640625723
42Rhode Island4.15441010321
43Maryland4.122493746812614
44Washington4.043083441201437
45Connecticut3.4812420139622
46Minnesota3.17179122787413
47New Hampshire3.1643008314
48District of Columbia3.1222612130
49Massachusetts2.48171196617411
50New Jersey2.2920341058959
51New York2.204287061032409
OverallAverages5.8037338714116820

While individual states may have hundreds of fatal crashes in a particular category, the averages for all states are fairly low, with rollovers (141) and speeding (168) the most common type of reckless driving fatal crash.

For our other three categories (hit and runs, police pursuit, and work zone fatal crashes) the averages for all states are 38 fatal crashes or below.

Frequently Asked Questions: Areas with the Best and Worst Drivers

We’ve looked at the 10 states with the most reckless drivers, what those 10 states have in common, and analyzed how reckless driving impacts all states nationwide. Now, it’s time to answer your frequently asked questions. They include:

  • Which states have the most aggressive drivers?
  • What state has the meanest drivers?
  • What country has the craziest drivers?

Scroll down for the answers to those questions and more.

#1 – What states have the most aggressive drivers?

Reckless and aggressive may be similar forms of driving but are not entirely exact. A reckless driver has a disregard for other drivers where an aggressive driver engages in behavior that is just considered rude: cutting people off, honking their horns, tailgating, and more.

Some believe that New York drivers are the most aggressive, as they can be disrespectful or rude, though that may fall within the general NYC culture, which has that reputation. Every state has its own driving culture and the truth is that while New York and other Northeast states might have the “most aggressive” drivers, they are also among the best in the country.

The worst? While their drivers may be polite, the states in the South are some of the most dangerous in the country.

#2 – Which state had the best drivers in 2019?

As in 2020, Minnesota had the best drivers in 2019 with a general death rate of just 0.7 persons per 100 million vehicle miles traveled and low death rates when it came to categories like careless driving, speeding, and drinking and driving.

#3 – What state had the best drivers in 2020?

Minnesota had the best drivers in 2020 with just 38 pedestrians and six bicyclists killed in a state with a population of 5.5 million. It also had a death rate of 0.6 persons killed per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, which was tied for the best with Massachusetts.

#4 – What state has the meanest drivers?

According to AAA, bad driving manners are found coast to coast with 80 percent of survey respondents saying they displayed some “major” form of anger while driving in the past 30 days (when the survey was conducted).

Dense cities, or states with dense cities, have a higher risk of creating a mean driving culture, as these areas lead to large amounts of traffic, hot tempers, and reckless driving.

New York, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C., fall into that category. Other publications have shown that Idaho (which supposedly has a laid-back atmosphere to driving) has some of the meanest drivers in the country.

#5 – What state has the fastest drivers?

Texas has a reputation of having some of the fastest drivers in the country, including an expressway called “Pickle Parkway” that has the highest upper-speed limit in the country.

Still, sparsely populated northwestern states like Montana may beg to differ as the low amount of traffic and long straight roads can lead to serious speeds. In these states, the federal government needed to mandate speed limits rather than the states themselves.

#6 – What city has the worst road rage?

We’ve seen that certain states with densely populated urban areas tend to have some of the meanest or rudest drivers. It might not be a surprise then to see Los Angeles leading many lists as the city with the worst road rage.

The City of Angels has the worst traffic out of all cities in the United States and 85th worst in the world according to TomTom, a company that monitors traffic in cities around the world. It would make sense then that it would be the city that had the most road rage.

#7 – What country has the craziest drivers?

Although it is difficult to pick out a specific country with the craziest drivers, there is little doubt that developing countries such as Lebanon, India, and Mexico can have crazy drivers, huge traffic jams, and poor road conditions. Due to this last one especially, driving can be dangerous in certain parts of these countries.

#8 – What is the most dangerous state to drive in?

In our 2020 study of America’s worst drivers, we found that Alaska was the most dangerous state to drive in during 2018. A little less than 98 percent of all fatal car crashes in Alaska came from drunk driving and speeding, making it the worst in the country for those two categories.

Alaska also has very difficult environmental challenges when it comes to driving that aren’t often seen in the southern 48 states or Hawaii. Since our inaugural 2011 worst drivers per state ranking, Alaska has appeared on the list six times.

Methodology: Determining the States with the Most Reckless Drivers

To create the ranking for this study, our researchers looked at two primary sources: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the U.S. Census Bureau (Census).

For each state, our experts collected the total number of fatal crashes in 2019 along with fatal crashes that had the following five specifications:

  1. Hit and runs
  2. Police pursuit
  3. Rollover
  4. Speeding
  5. In a work zone

Our analysts then summed up the number of fatal crashes that fell into each of those categories for each state to find out the number of reckless driving fatal crashes. Then, our researchers turned to the U.S. Census Bureau and discovered the population for each state in 2019.

Our experts then divided the two — number of reckless driving fatal crashes by state by the population of that state — to create a reckless driving fatal crashes per resident of that state. Our analysts then multiplied that number by 100,000 to create the statistic used for the ranking: number of reckless driving fatal crashes per 100,000 residents (of a particular state).

Altogether, if you were to count individual fatal crashes and residents of states, our experts analyzed over 328 million data points that led to our ranking of the 10 worst states (and overall countrywide ranking) for reckless driving.

Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates by State
Reckless Driving Fatal Crash Stats Across America
Reckless Driving Fatal Crash Accident Report Details
Reckless Driving Fatal Crash Stats Across America
Reckless Driving Fatal Crash Accident Report Details