Worst Drivers in the Country: How Do Kansas and Missouri Rank?

Worst Drivers in the Country: How Do Kansas and Missouri Rank?As technology continues to grow, so do distractions. With the number of new cell phones, tablets, laptops, virtual reality gear, and other inventions joining the consumer market every day, it is no surprise that distracted driving is the main reason for car accidents in the nation. Other dangerous habits include driving while drowsy, aggressive and careless tailgating, and drunk driving.

While other states may have deteriorated their statistics for the worst drivers in the country, we are happy to report that, per Car Insurance Comparison, the state of Kansas has continued making a significant improvement. Just last year, Kansas was in 34th place, but this year it is tied for 40th place, meaning we are now tied for a spot in the top 10 states with the best drivers. Keep in mind that the higher the number, the better. A lower number means that the state’s crash statistics are worse.

Unfortunately, the state of Missouri cannot receive the same praise. Although Missouri has improved since the year 2011 (when it was in second place) to 16th place last year, it has moved back down to 11th place. This means that – with speeding being their worst category – there has been an increase in the number of car accidents caused by negligent and irresponsible drivers.

What does it mean to be the worst?

This ranking looks at five pieces of crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) and ranks states from worst to best. The factors they analyze include:

  1. Fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled
  2. Charges of failure to obey (percentage of fatal crashes that involved traffic signals, not wearing seat belts, and driving with an invalid driver’s license)
  3. Charges of drunk driving (percentage of fatal crashes that involved alcohol)
  4. Charges of speeding (percentage of speed-related driving fatalities)
  5. Charges of careless driving (pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities per 100,000 population)

States who do poorly in multiple categories will end up at the top of the list. In 2015, Missouri’s worst area was in traffic fatalities caused by speeding, where the state ranked ninth worst in the nation. The worst area for Kansas was the overall fatality rate, coming in at 20th in the nation.

The states with the worst drivers in 2022 were:

  • New Mexico and Texas tied for first place
  • Montana and South Carolina tied for third place
  • Louisiana in fifth place
  • Alabama and Hawaii tied for sixth place
  • Arizona in eighth place
  • Oregon in ninth place
  • Nevada in tenth place

These numbers are not tied to a particular region of the country or a state’s size or population. The survey makes a connection between speeding and being at the top of the list – the 10 worst states on the list were all in the top 20 for speeding, by the way – and found that the best predictor of which states would have the worst overall rankings was their ranking for careless driving.

What are safe driving habits?

There are various ways in which individual drivers can prevent car accidents. They must be more cautious in avoiding accidents to contribute to overall improved safety for all drivers and passengers in their state. Drivers can start by adopting these safe driving habits:

  1. DO NOT speed.Speeding is consistently the top contributor to car accidents. Stick to the speed limit and do not allow other speeders to push you to drive faster than you know you should. Always have patience on the road and remember to take a deep breath if you have other drivers pressuring you to step on the gas.
  2. DO NOT use your cell phone behind the wheel.The use of cell phones and other distractions while driving is quickly becoming a major cause of fatal crashes – and will only grow from here on out. There is no text message or email important enough to put your life on the line. Put your phone out of sight until you have safely reached your destination.
  3. DO NOT tailgate. Always keep a safe following distance of several car lengths.Allowing yourself plenty of time to stop if something happens in front of you is one of the best ways to avoid an accident. If you are much too close to the vehicle in front of you, you will not be able to go anywhere in case of an emergency. Likewise, keep an escape route open to your side by not cruising next to another vehicle for long periods of time. Traveling next to the same car for too long brings the opportunity for a car accident because you do not know if the other car driver is distracted, drowsy, or aggressive.
  4. DO NOT drive drowsy.Many of us are forced to drive while we are tired, even during the day, whether it is to get to our jobs or get home from them, or run errands. Getting plenty of sleep is crucial to avoiding car accidents. Never drive when you know you have not had enough sleep.
  5. DO NOT drive while impairedThis should go without saying, but too many people think they’re fine to drive after having a few beers with dinner. If you have more than one drink – and for some people, even one is too many – take a cab or find a designated driver. Just one drink can spike the blood alcohol content level to an illegal limit and lead to a decrease in concentration and use of motor skills while driving.

Car accidents leave you scared and wondering what the next steps are. Among medical and vehicle expenses, you may be in a world of confusion. Our experienced car accident lawyers at Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys will help you every step of the way. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, contact our Kansas City, MO, office right away to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. We also have locations in Lee’s Summit, Parkville, and St. Joseph. Our offices in Kansas include Olathe, Kansas City, and Overland Park. These locations are by appointment only.