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Where Are the Worst Drivers in America?

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We last took a look at this survey of driving statistics five years ago and we are happy to report that both Kansas and Missouri have improved considerably in driver safety and crash rates since then. CarInsuranceComparison.com compiles statistics from the A Hand Giving the Thumbs Up Sign While Holding KeysNational Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to determine rankings for each state.

This is a ranking of the worst drivers in America, so being at the top of the list is a bad thing. The lower your number, the worse your state’s crash statistics are. While Missouri was the second worst state in the nation in 2011, it has improved its ranking 14 places, coming in at 16th this year. This still puts Missouri drivers in the bottom half of states, but they are moving in the right direction! Kansas also showed improvement, moving from 16th place in 2011 to 34th this year—almost making it to the Top Ten of best drivers in the country.

What Does it Mean to Be the Worst?

This particular ranking looks at five pieces of crash data from NHTSA and ranks states from worst to best. The statistics they look at 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 driving fatalities that were speed-related)

  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 9th 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 2015, starting with the worst, were: Montana, South Carolina, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Arizona, Hawaii, North Dakota, Delaware, and Mississippi. The five best states were Minnesota, Ohio, Vermont, Iowa, and Nebraska. Clearly, these numbers are not tied to a particular region of the country or to a state’s size or population. The survey makes a connection between speeding and being at the top of the list—the ten worst states on the list were all in the top 20 for speeding—and found that the best predictor of which states would have the worst overall rankings was their ranking for careless driving.

What Makes a Good Driver?

So how can individual drivers do a better job of avoiding accidents and contributing to improving safety for all drivers and passengers in their state? They can start with adopting these safe driving habits:

  1. Don’t speed. Speeding is consistently the top contributor to car accidents. Stick to the speed limit and don’t allow other speeders to push you to driver faster than you know you should.

  2. Never use a cell phone behind the wheel. Use of cell phones and other distractions while driving are quickly becoming a major cause of fatal crashes. There is no text or email message important enough to put your life on the line for. Put your phone away until you have reached your destination.

  3. Keep a safe following distance. Allowing yourself plenty of time to stop if something happens in front of you is one of the best ways to avoid an accident. Likewise, keep an escape route open to your side by not cruising next to another vehicle for long periods of time.

  4. Stay awake. Many of us drive while we are tired, even during the day. Get plenty of sleep as a general rule and never drive when you know you have not had enough sleep.

  5. Never drive while impaired. This should go without saying, but too many people think they’re o.k. 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.

Call an Experienced Car Crash Attorney if You Are Injured in a Crash

If you find yourself the victim of one of Kansas or Missouri’s bad drivers, don’t take on the insurance company alone. Call the experienced car crash attorneys at Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys at (888) 348-2616 to help you get the maximum settlement for your injuries.


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