Which States Have the Best and Worst Drivers?

Fact-checked with HomeInsurance.com

Ask anyone, and they’ll probably tell you that their state has the worst drivers in America. While it can certainly feel that way, the real winners and losers when it comes to bad drivers and best drivers can be determined by data.

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By looking at several different factors, assessing the worst drivers by state is possible. Additionally, looking at how these conclusions can affect your car insurance rates can be helpful when you’re shopping for auto insurance. Depending on where your state falls in the rankings, you may find yourself paying more or less for car insurance.

Top 10 states with the best drivers

  • Minnesota: Ranked 50th for fatality rate and 51st for careless driving deaths (rankings include the District of Columbia for 51 total locations).
  • Iowa: Ranked 50th in deaths from careless driving.
  • Ohio: 37th for fatality rate per 100 million miles traveled and for deaths from careless driving.
  • New Hampshire: 49th for overall fatality rate.
  • Nebraska: 43rd for deaths from careless driving and 47th for deaths caused by speeding.
  • Massachusetts: Ranked 51st for overall fatality rate.
  • New Jersey: 47th for overall fatality rate and 45th for deaths caused by excessive speed.
  • Virginia: 39th for overall fatality rate and 36th for deaths by failure to obey traffic laws.
  • Utah: 45th for overall fatality rate and 50th for deaths by drunk driving.
  • Kansas: 50th for deaths caused by drunk driving and 40th for deaths caused by careless driving and speeding infractions.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

Arguably, there are a lot of different ways you can determine which states have the best drivers. A lot of factors are subjective and may not be able to be quantified by data, which does make the calculation a challenge. For example, every time someone changes lanes and almost runs you off the road may happen a lot, but that’s not going to show up in statistics. Additionally, you might consider everyone who knows how to merge properly a good driver, but that’s not going to show up in the data.

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The only real way to quantify states with great drivers is to look at states with the fewest accidents and deaths related to bad driving habits. For these results, we looked at states with the lowest prevalence of accidents and deaths as a result of careless driving, failure to obey, drunk driving and speeding.

Additionally, we looked at the overall fatality rate in the state per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. Some of these statistics, like this one, do account for the population and volume of travel on the road, and some do not. Again, this isn’t ideal for statistical calculations because it may inflate numbers for smaller states, but it’s important to point out for full transparency.

Top 10 states with the worst drivers

  • New Mexico: 3rd worst state for careless driving and drunk driving.
  • South Carolina: 1st worst state for fatalities on the road.
  • Arizona: 4th worst state for careless driving and 5th worst for fatalities on the road.
  • Louisiana: 6th worst state for failure to obey and tied for 5th worst in fatality rate.
  • Texas: 2nd worst state for drunk driving.
  • Colorad: 3rd worst state for failure to obey traffic laws resulting in deaths.
  • Missouri: 9th worst in speeding-related deaths.
  • Alabama: 9th worst in careless driving deaths.
  • Montana: 4th worst in deaths from failure to obey traffic laws.
  • Nevada: 6th worst in careless driving deaths.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

Earning a spot on the list of the worst drivers in America is not an ideal spot for a state. However, it’s the inevitable truth that some areas fall behind the rest of the country in staying safe on the roadways.

A look at the worst drivers by state follows the same path as a look at the best drivers, except in reverse. Instead of looking for the lowest numbers in the prevalence of accidents and deaths as a result of careless driving, failure to obey, drunk driving and speeding, you look at the highest numbers. In other words, where are more fatal crashes occurring?

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Again, some of the data does account for the volume of traffic and drivers, while some statistics do not account for this.

Does the state I live affect my car insurance cost?

The state you live in absolutely affects your car insurance rates. Insurance companies do their best to price insurance based on the risk of you driving and owning a vehicle in that state. If a state has more accidents and more traffic-related deaths, the insurance company has to pay out more money in those states. This translates to higher costs for you, even if you’re the best driver in the state.

While geographic location does play a big role in your rates, it’s not the only factor. Other things that insurance companies consider include things like your age, gender, the type of car you’re driving, your driving record, how much you drive and your credit history. Because rates can vary so much from person to person and company to company, it’s important to get several quotes when deciding on a provider.

Too long, didn’t read?

When you look at fatality and accident data, you can put the brakes on the age-old argument of which states have the best and worst drivers. While this data is interesting independently, it also plays a major role in how much you’re going to pay for car insurance.

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Jason Lee
Jason Lee
Contributing Writer

Jason Lee is a U.S.-based freelance writer with a passion for writing about dating, banking, tech, personal growth, food and personal finance. As a business owner, relationship strategist, and officer in the U.S. military, Jason enjoys sharing his unique knowledge base and skill sets with the rest of the world. Follow Jason on Facebook here

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  • Nashalie Addarich is an editor for The Simple Dollar. She recently made a career switch from the legal field, where she was an attorney in Washington, DC. In her free time, she enjoys learning new languages. You can also find her editorial work on Reviews.com.

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