ST. GEORGE — Utah has the second best drivers in the country, according to a survey published on Monday by CarInsuranceComparison.com. Using statistics primarily from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this survey compiled by the auto insurance website scored every state on the quality of their drivers. The higher the score, the worse off the state.
The methodology of the survey was published, however the logic behind the ranking system is up for interpretation. The assumption that these statistics actually correspond to quality of driving is also up for interpretation.
Utah drivers were ranked second best in the country, because they had the second lowest score. The only state to have better drivers than Utah according to the survey, is Vermont. The worst state to drive in is Louisiana.
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Worst drivers by state
|1. Louisiana||18. Maryland||35. Michigan|
|2. South Carolina||19. California||36. Virginia|
|3. Mississippi||20. Ohio||37. Idaho|
|4. Texas||21. Illinois||38. Kansas|
|5. Alabama||22. New York||39. Washington|
|6. Florida||23. Wisconsin||40. Rhode Island|
|7. Missouri||24. Kentucky||41. Alaska|
|8. North Carolina||25. Hawaii||42. Massachusetts|
|9. Montana||26. Colorado||43. Iowa|
|10. North Dakota||27. Wyoming||44. Dist. of Columbia|
|11. Oklahoma||28. Delaware||45. Connecticut|
|12. Nevada||29. Indiana||46. Maine|
|13. Tennessee||30. New Mexico||47. Oregon|
|14. Georgia||31. South Dakota||48. Minnesota|
|15. Pennsylvania||32. New Jersey||49. New Hampshire|
|16. Arizona||33. Nebraska||50. Utah|
|17. Arkansas||34. West Virginia||51. Vermont|
Utah’s rankings compared to nearby states
(the higher the score, the worse off the states were)
State rank (51 is the best)
Fatalities Rate per 100 Million Vehicle Miles Traveled
Failure to Obey (Traffic Signals & Seat Belts)
|30. New Mexico||38||10||9||14||47|
- Drunk driving: Besides the total score, Utah scored the lowest out of all states on one particular category, drunk driving. This means that Utah has the lowest percentage of alcohol-impaired vehicle crash fatalities reported by the NHTSA. In 2012, only 16 percent of Utah’s total vehicle crash fatalities were due to alcohol impairment. The national average in 2012 was 31 percent.
- Failure to obey: There were 12 states that scored lower than Utah in the “failure to obey traffic signals and seat belts” category. This means that Utah was one of the states with the fewest accidents caused by violations such as running lights, running stop signs, and not wearing seat-belts as recorded by the NHTSA.
- Fatality rate: Utah also scored well on its overall fatality rate. There were only 13 states that had a lower rate then Utah. Massachusetts, had the lowest with 0.62 and Montana had the highest with 1.79 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles travelled. Utah’s fatality rate in 2012 was 0.92 fatalities per 100 million miles travelled. All of these rates were for the year of 2012 according to NHTSA statistics.
- Careless driving: Utah ranked No. 23 in careless driving, the state’s worst ranking. The survey again used NHTSA statistics to rank states in this category. The survey used two statistics to come to this conclusion: the percentage of pedestrians who were killed by motor vehicles in each state and the same for pedacyclists — non-motorized, human-powered vehicles like bikes, trikes and unicycles — who are killed by motor vehicles.
- Tickets: Utah ranked as the 20th most likely state to issue its drivers a traffic ticket. This was based on an NMA study that used a public Google tool. This Google tool shows search trends in particular geographical areas across the U.S. According to the study, Utah’s neighbor, Nevada is the most likely state in the country to issue drivers a ticket.
Methods behind the survey
The ranking system was broken down into the five categories listed above. Each particular category ranks all 50 states plus the District of Columbia — from worst to best. Then these individual categories were averaged out and an overall list was created.
The survey used three sources, but one of the sources they list, the Mothers Against Drunk Driving website, wasn’t actually used as a primary statistical source. The MADD website was used for background information and to locate the primary statistical source, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Jeffrey A. Crews, vice president of CarInsuranceComparison.com said.
The primary source, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, was used for four of their lists: fatality rates, drunk driving, careless driving, and failure to obey. The fifth category, tickets, was compiled from a study done by the National Motorists Association.
The NHTSA is a federal government organization that among other things collects data from accidents across the country. The NHTSA states on one of it’s fact sheets that it gets its data from state and local law enforcement agencies.
The other source used — albeit only on the “tickets” category — was the NMA. The NMA is an advocacy group for drivers across the country. They assert, among other things, to fight corruption among driving related government policies. The NMA study stated that its scores were calculated from by averaging the popularity of ticket-related search queries such as “speeding ticket” and “traffic tickets.” It then ranked the states that are most likely to give drivers a ticket, according to the survey.
For the full spreadsheet with each category’s break down, click here.
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