Texas Drivers Could Use Improvement

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. While Texas drivers aren’t the worst in the country, they still rank third state (tying with Montana) for bad drivers in the US. Nonetheless, there is still no reason to celebrate. It is essential to consider driver’s ed classes that will yield a positive, productive, and impactful learning experience.

Factors Used By The Study To Reach This Determination

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 2020. Car Insurance Comparison ranked each state according to the following categories:

  • Factored in statewide traffic fatalities, reckless driving, and drunk driving in Texas
  • Percentage of Fatal Crashes that involved Traffic Signals, Not Wearing Seat Belts, and Driving with an Invalid Driver’s License (otherwise considered as Failure to Obey)
  • Percentage of Fatal Crashes that Involved Alcohol (otherwise considered Drunk Driving)
  • Percentage of Driving Fatalities that were Speed-Related (otherwise considered Speeding)
  • Pedestrian & Bicyclist Fatalities per 100,000 Population (otherwise considered Careless Driving)

Each category was assigned a value based on its 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.

What Led To Texas’ Placement As Last?

In 2019, Texas ranked the fifth-worst state for bad drivers. The following year, they ranked up two more steps, landing in third place. What caused this slide?

In 2020, it was found that the majority of fatalities (45%) are due to drunk driving, the most alarming driver issue in Texas from 2010 to 2019. Coming out with about 3,642 traffic fatalities in 2018, Texas was ranked the “Deadliest State” for Drivers. About 46% of these fatalities or 1,673 drivers were under the influence of alcohol. The least likely cause of traffic deaths was due to speeding at about 27%. 

Five years prior 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.

In 2014, 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 traveled). 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 few years, demonstrating that the results are no longer statistical anomalies.   Instead, they are actual trends that demonstrate an element of human error. Texas, South Carolina, and Montana appeared a total of nine times in annual studies as one of the worst states for rivers since 2011. 

Another interesting fact –Alaska and New Mexico ranked the top two states with the worst drivers.

Which Category Offered The Strongest Correlation To Bad Driving?

In 2015, 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. In 2020, it was found that the majority of the causes of fatal traffic accidents were due to reckless driving.

As technology has grown into our daily lives, drivers have become more and more distracted by phones. As humans, our need for 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 Importance Of Drivers Ed Classes

The study should show just how important it is to take your driver’s 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 increased importance on driver’s 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 an improvement, it is still not good enough. Knowledge and preparation are essential keys to success. In this case, a lesson learned in your driver’s 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.

The Importance Of Traffic School

Just as important as a solid foundation to driving, attending traffic school regularly to improve your driving skills should be part of your responsibilities as a driver. Say you’ve received traffic tickets or have some points on your license, we recommend that you enroll in a traffic school to get rid of those points (when applicable) or simply for a refresher that will improve your confidence behind the wheel. 

Most drivers will think that traffic school is a waste of time, but here’s what you should know. Most traffic fatalities occur due to reckless driving and careless driving. A confident and responsible driver aware of defensive driving techniques and current traffic laws will make you safer on the road.

The Choice for Online Driver’s Ed and Online Traffic School

As you were reading the last two sections, you might be hesitant about a few things. While it’s a great suggestion to attend quality driver’s ed or traffic school, you might think that the best schools are time-consuming and expensive. Thankfully, there’s a solution to this dilemma -– online driver’s ed and online traffic schools.

Are online driving schools legit and safe? 

Of course, they are! We’d say that they are just as effective or even more so than traditional driving schools. With online schools, you’re sure to get an updated course curriculum through the most innovative study methods available, including video, audio narration, simulations, and even driver’s ed games. 

Another benefit is that you can learn in your free time when you’re most comfortable and relaxed. Why is that so important? Entertaining and fun study resources can make a difference between life or death. Just as long as you can retain life-saving information, you’ll be safe and confident on the road.

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