Where are the Worst Drivers in the US?

Sep 4, 2019 10:10 AM ET

The US is a diverse country and its driving patterns certainly reflect this diversity. A recent study on driving habits delivers a definitive ranking on all 50 states. The study looked at data points on four distinct metrics. The categories measured were the percentage of all drivers insured, the number of DUI arrests per 1,000 drivers, the number of fatalities per 100 million miles driven, and the number of times that residents in each state Google search either speeding ticket or traffic ticket. Each metric has equal weighting in the ranking process. When taken as a whole, these data points provide a ranking of each state’s performance over a variety of driving metrics.


KEY FINDINGS: As is generally the case, the southern part of the country has the worst drivers overall. With five out of the top ten states for worst driving data coming from the South, it is no surprise that this region is known for its poor driving record. The 2018 rankings are largely unchanged from the year before. Only New Mexico moved out of the top ten for worst driving, ditching its 5th place ranking and coming in at 19th worst overall. The only new entry in the bottom ten driving rankings is Nevada with its fourth-place tie ranking.

1. MISSISSIPPI: Mississippi takes the title for the state with the worst drivers in the nation. One of the key factors that land Mississippi in the cellar is that only a tad over 76% of its drivers have insurance, the second least in the US. Mississippi is also tied for second-worst when it comes to the most driver fatalities. One metric in which Mississippi does better in is its DUI rate, ranking in at 21st-fewest.

2. ALABAMA: Located next to Missippi both in geography and rankings is Alabama. While Alabama scores well in its overall DUI rankings, the state does poorly in the other metrics. Alabama claims the sixth-lowest percentage of insured drivers, with just 81.60% of drivers carrying coverage. With 1.56 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles driven, the state is the sixth-highest rate overall in this significant category.

3. CALIFORNIA: Moving out of the South, California has earned its reputation as a poor driving state. This West Coast region ranks as the sixth-highest state for searches for speeding and traffic tickets. Combined with only an 84.80% rate of insured drivers, California is not known as a particularly safe place to drive. With 4.59 DUIs issued per 1,000 drivers, California checks in with the 15th-highest rate. However, this high rate of DUI citations could also be a reflection of the state’s strict driving laws and vigilance in ticketing.

4. FLORIDA (TIE): The three-way tie for fourth place begins with the Sunshine State. Florida brings up the rear of the list when it comes to insured drivers, with only 73.30% of its drivers having coverage. On the flip side, the state boasts the eighth-lowest DUI rate in the nation with only 2.17 citations per 1,000 drivers.

5. NEVADA (TIE): Also in the tie for fourth place is Nevada. While the state boasts a healthy 89.40% of all drivers with insurance, it does not score as high in the other categories. Nevada claims 4.94 DUI arrests per 1,000 drivers, making it the 13th-worst in the country. The Silver State also has the highest rate of searches of any state for traffic-related tickets.

6. TEXAS (TIE): The last state in the three-way tie for fourth place is Texas. While the Lone Star State is not at rock bottom for any metric, it does not score particularly well in any category, lending to its overall low rating. Texas has the ninth-highest rate of searches for traffic-related tickets partnered with the 15th-lowest rate of insured drivers. With 1.40 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles driven, driving in Texas can be a dangerous affair.

7. ARIZONA: Like Texas, the state of Arizona features low scores across all metrics. The Grand Canyon has 4.68 DUI incidents per 1,000 drivers paired with 1.45 people killed per 100 million vehicle miles driven. In the category of searches for driving-related tickets, Arizona comes in at 17th-highest in the country.

8. ALASKA (TIE): There is another tie, with two states coming in at 8th place. With 5.80 DUI incidents per 1,000 drivers, Alaska ranks fifth in the country. The state also has the fourth-highest rate of driving fatalities, with 1.60 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles driven. One area in which Alaska shines is in the category of searches for traffic-related tickets. Boasting the third-lowest rate in the nation, Alaska is doing well in this metric.

9. TENNESSEE (TIE): With only 80% of drivers having insurance coverage, Tennessee comes in as the fifth-lowest state in this metric. The Volunteer State also notches 3.63 DUIs per 1,000 drivers paired with 1.35 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles driven.

10. MISSOURI: Rounding out the top ten of worst driving states is the Show Me State. Missouri only boasts an insurance rate of 86%, good for a ranking of 16th worst. Missouri also scores low on the searches for driving-related tickets metric, coming in at 12th highest in the US.


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