When you think of the worst drivers in the country, I’m sure there are a few states that come to mind. New Jersey? Ohio? Everyone has their opinion on which state produces the worst drivers. Recently, a new study has provided a clear, statistical answer – and that answer is not good for the people of the Lone Star State. Texas, in fact, has the worst drivers in the country. Actually, technically Texas tied for the worst with Louisiana. But nonetheless, there is still no reason to celebrate. It is essential to consider drivers ed classes that will yield a positive, productive and impactful learning experience.
The study was conducted by CarInsuranceComparison.com, and ranked by analyzing information produced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regarding driver’s statistical information in 2015. Car Insurance Comparison ranked each state according to the following categories:
Each category was assigned a value based on their ranking in each category. So, if a state ranked worst in a category, they would receive a score of “1.” The total scores were added up to a combined score. The lowest combined score yielded the states with the worst drivers, while the highest combined score yielded the states with the best drivers.
Last year, Texas ranked fourth-worst on the list. This year, they dropped to worst. What caused this slide?
In 2015, Texas drivers ranked third for Drunk Driving, ninth for Speeding, ninth for Fatalities, twelfth in Failure to Obey, and fourteenth for Careless Driving. You read that correctly – Texas scored in the top 14 in every category. They were the ONLY state to rank among the 14 worst in every measured category.
The year prior, Texas drivers ranked sixth for Drunk Driving, fifteenth for Speeding, twelfth in Fatalities, eighteenth in Failure to Obey, and eleventh in Careless Driving.
Texas also had 3,538 driving deaths in 2015, the most in the nation (for statistical purposes, this equates to nearly 1.5 fatalities per 100 million miles travelled). According to the data from the NHTSA, more than 40 percent of Texas traffic deaths involved drivers with a blood alcohol content above the legal limit of .08, also the worst in the country. Texas was the second worst state in the country for fatal crashes involving an invalidly licensed driver, as nearly 20 percent of fatal crashes fell into this category. More than 36 percent of traffic fatalities were the cause of excessive speed, resulting in more than 1,284 deaths. Lastly, 476 pedestrians were killed, plus another 50 on bicycles.
Perhaps the only positive mark for Texas was shown when it was revealed that (only?) 20 percent of fatal crashes in the state saw drivers not wearing a seat belt, putting the state in the top-15 for that category.
In case you were curious, Louisiana ranked first in Failure to Obey, fifth in Careless Driving, sixth in Drunk Driving, and thirtieth in Speeding. Texas and Louisiana have consistently been known for bad driving for the last four or five years, demonstrating that the results are no longer statistical anomalies. Instead, they are actual trends that demonstrate an element of human-error.
One interesting “fun” fact –Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Arizona – all neighbors – were all ranked in the top-10 worst drivers.
The Careless Driving category has been a strong predictor of a poor ranking in past years, and that did not change this year. Of the 20 states with the worst drivers, 16 were ranked in the worst-half of the Careless Driving category.
As technology has grown into our daily lives, drivers have become more and more distracted with phones. As humans, our need to constant communication and information has spilled over into our driving habits. Distracted driving is the leading cause of Careless Driving, as people drive while participating in other activities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that over eight people are killed and 1,161 are injured in daily crashes that involve a distracted driver. 64 percent of all car accidents involve cell phone usage.
The study should show just how important it is to take your drivers ed classes seriously. While it may be tempting to breeze through these classes without putting much thought or effort into them, the ability to take these classes should be more about value, knowledge, and learning. Safe driving impacts all drivers on the road, not just yourself. When behind the wheel, we as drivers are responsible to everyone around us. The number of fatalities that occur as a result of frankly stupid mistakes such as drunk driving or not wearing a seatbelt is entirely too high. Education is key, and perhaps can directly reduce fatalities on the road.
Over time, state legislators have put an increased importance on drivers ed classes, and it appears that it has made a substantial difference. The NHTSA has stated that since 1975, traffic-related fatalities have actually decreased around 67 percent. Although this is improvement, it is still not good enough. Knowledge and preparation are essential keys to success. In this case, a lesson learned in your drivers ed class could one day save your life.
Besides, being considered one of the worst drivers in the nation is nothing to brag about. The ability to do that would belong to Minnesota, home to the best drivers in the nation.
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