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Worst drivers in America? Washington, D.C., takes the honor


Not only are the drivers bad, there's too much traffic. Motorists slog through the commute around Washington, D.C.

For those of us who live in and/or drive through major metropolitan areas, having to keep a watchful eye out for the antics of inattentive or even reckless drivers is a necessary part of our daily routine. You may think you’ve got it bad, but according to the eighth annual “America’s Best Drivers Report” issued by Allstate Insurance in Northbrook, Ill., Washington D.C. can again lay claim to having the absolute worst motorists in the nation.

Allstate studied the auto insurance claims frequency of America’s 200 largest cities and found that residents of our nation’s capital were found to get into collisions on average once every 4.7 years. This means they’re a whopping 112.1 percent more likely to be party to an accident than the typical driver in the U.S., who wrecks his or her car once every 10 years.

Taken on a statewide basis, California would seem to have the worst drivers overall, placing five cities among the top 25, including Glendale (5), San Francisco (10), Los Angeles (14), Fullerton (16) and Torrence (22). New Jersey came in a close second with four cities among the top 25, with Florida and Virginia tied for third with three cities each.

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And, no, New York City didn’t even make the top 10 in Allstate’s 2012 list, though it still ranked at number 20, with residents being 41.1 percent more likely than the average motorist to get into an accident.

Meanwhile, the safest drivers can be found trolling the streets of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where the average motorist experiences a collision only once every 13.8 years, which is 27.6 percent less likely than the national average. Other top-five safest cities include (in order): Boise, Idaho; Fort Collins, Colo.; Madison, Wis., and Lincoln, Neb.

Among larger metro areas, the safest cities include: Tuscon, Ariz., (13); Milwaukee, Wis., (15); and Kansas City, Mo., (16).

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"It is vital for us to educate American drivers about safe driving behaviors they can practice on the road that will help make our roadways safer,” says Dave Prendergast, Allstate’s field senior vice-president. “Minimizing distractions, obeying traffic laws, and using your car’s safety features like turn signals and headlights, are all ways to be safer, no matter where you drive.”

Here is Allstate’s full list of the 25 cities having the worst drivers, with each citation noting the likelihood a motorist living there is to be involved in a crash, relative to the national average:

  1. Washington, DC: 112.1% greater-than-average accident frequency
  2. Baltimore, MD: 87.9%
  3. Providence, RI: 80.9%
  4. Hialeah, FL: 77.6%
  5. Glendale, CA: 77.5%
  6. Philadelphia, PA: 64.1%
  7. Alexandria, VA: 62.6%
  8. Newark, NJ: 59.4%
  9. Miami, FL: 58.4%
  10. San Francisco, CA: 54.6%
  11. Jersey City, NJ: 53.9%
  12. Arlington, VA: 53.0%
  13. Tampa, FL: 50.2%
  14. Los Angeles, CA: 48.5%
  15. Paterson, NJ: 46.9%
  16. Fullerton, CA: 42.7%
  17. Garland, TX: 41.6%
  18. Elizabeth, NJ: 41.5%
  19. Bridgeport, CT: 41.2%
  20. New York, NY: 41.1%
  21. New Haven, CT: 37.5%
  22. Torrance, CA: 36.7%
  23. Norfolk, VA: 36.3%
  24. Yonkers, NY: 36.2%
  25. Arlington TX: 35.4%

The fine print: the 2012 Allstate America’s Best Driver’s Report is based on an actuarial analysis of company claim data among the nation’s 200 largest cities. Property damage claims were analyzed over a two-year period (from January 2009 to December 2010) to ensure the findings would not be impacted by external influences such as weather or road construction. A weighted average of the two-year numbers determined the annual percentages. The report defines an auto crash as any collision resulting in a property damage claim.

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