ST. GEORGE – Whether it’s how a person was taught, what they were taught, common sense or lack thereof, statistics suggest some areas of the United States inherently beget more cautious motor vehicle operators, while others tend to breed some of the most accident-prone drivers on the road.
Unfortunately, no matter how cautious one drives, the likelihood of getting into an accident often depends upon the driving – carefulness or recklessness – of other motorists.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an alarming 33,500 fatalities occur on U.S. roadways each year and, no matter where you live, it seems people are always complaining about the drivers in the area. But, statistically speaking, where does Utah rank in the nation’s safest drivers?
While its neighboring state Nevada ranked as the least safe state to live in, Utah is ranked No. 11 on the list of safest states to live in, according to an analysis done by WalletHub personal finance. But what some may find most surprising is Utah is ranked as the third safest state for driving safety, according to the same analysis.
To calculate each state’s driving safety, the analysis, released in June of this year, used the following data:
- Fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel
- Number of “under the influence” traffic violations per capita
- Pedestrian and pedacyclist fatality rate per capita
To identify the safest states to live, WalletHub looked at financial, driving, workplace, home and community safety, along with natural disasters.
The best, not so simply
According to a survey published by CarInsuranceComparison.com, Utah has the second best drivers in the country. Using statistics primarily from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the survey scored every state on the quality of their drivers.
The only state to have better drivers than Utah, according to the survey, is Vermont. Reportedly the worst state to drive in is Louisiana.
More specifically, the analysis broke it down further. The ranking system was broken down into five categories. Each particular category ranks all 50 states plus the District of Columbia — from worst to best. These individual categories were then averaged out and an overall list was created.
- Drunk driving: Utah ranked as having 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: Only 12 states beat Utah in the “failure to obey traffic signals and seat belts” category. Utah ranked as 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 fatality rate than 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 traveled, according to NHTSA statistics.
- Careless driving: Utah’s worst ranking was in careless driving – ranked No. 23. The survey again used NHTSA statistics to rank states in this category, using 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 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.
Attitude on the asphalt
While other studies rank Utah as one of the safest states to drive, another study ranks Utah in the top 10 states having the rudest drivers. However, this time the survey methodology was slightly more opinion-based.
Utah resident Matt Stubbs told Insure.com it appears Utah’s motorists are all in a race, but nobody knows where it ends or how to get to the finish. Besides speeding, Utah drivers are also criticized in the survey for not signaling or allowing others to merge.
According to the Insure.com survey, fielded in July of this year, Utah comes in at No. 10 on the list of rudest drivers:
8. New Jersey
3. New York
2. District of Columbia
Insure.com commissioned a survey of 2,000 licensed drivers, half women and half men, with respondents representing all areas of the country according to Census population data. The state rankings were calculated using a ratio of the nationwide votes for drivers of the state divided by the number of respondents from the state.
Insure.com also analyzed the results to determine who dislikes whom the most. According to the site, California drivers are the biggest haters: They are the No. 1 haters of drivers from surrounding states and even from states across the country. Californians hate New York drivers more than New Jersey drivers do, according to the site.
“Drivers from the Golden State have dark thoughts about drivers from Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Texas, Utah and even Vermont,” according to Insure.com.
- 2014’s Safest States to Live In
- Worst Drivers By State
- 10 states with the rudest drivers – and the states that hate them
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