Worst Drivers By State (2013 Data)

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Sara Routhier, Managing Editor and Outreach Director, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world o...

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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...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Dec 3, 2020

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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 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 Spraul

Here are the top 10, in descending order:

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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 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 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’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 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 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 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 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 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

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 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 and 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.

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What do the best drivers have in common?

Of the 15 states with the best drivers, only four 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 the 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 Spraul

District of Columbia47514282417244
New Hampshire492527414718948
New Jersey433338231415132
New Mexico14424338514229
New York372928121512120
North Carolina211621108767
North Dakota620246229610
Rhode Island44446422516140
South Carolina3233142452
South Dakota202412474214531
West Virginia261816293212120
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