Deadly Driving: Study Finds Which State Has Worst Drivers in America

The study looked at dangerous driving behaviors including speeding, driving while distracted and engaging in aggressive driving.

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As the number of deadly crashes in the U.S. climbed by 12.7% between 2019 and 2023, according to federal safety agency data, a Forbes Advisor study looked at which states have the highest rates of unsafe driving habits, often the culprit in roadway fatalities.

Dangerous driving behaviors studied included speeding, driving while distracted and engaging in aggressive driving.

According to the study, which analyzed data from all 50 states based on eight key metrics, New Mexico has the worst drivers in the country, with a high number of fatal crashes involving a variety of dangerous driving behaviors.

New Mexico recorded the highest rate of fatal car accidents involving a distracted driver, at 10.16 per 100,000 licensed drivers. It was second in the rate of fatal car accidents involving driving too fast for conditions, speeding or racing (9.66). It was third in rate of total fatal car accidents (25.65) and rate of drunk drivers involved in fatal car accidents (8.11). Finally, it was sixth in the rate of fatal car accidents involving disobeying traffic signs, traffic signals or a traffic officer (1.39).

Overall, New Mexico scored a 100 out of 100 on Forbes Advisor's scale ranking the worst drivers by state.

Wyoming was second, scoring a 96.62, in part due to tired drivers getting behind the wheel.

The rest of the top 10 worst-ranked drivers by state were Texas (95.12 out of 100), Oklahoma (92.86), Montana (92.10), Louisiana (88.92), Kentucky (88.45), Kansas (86.63), Mississippi (85.04) and Missouri (84.51).

Mississippi had the highest total number of fatal car accidents per 100,000 licensed drivers at 31.95, and Montana led in drunk driving-related fatal crashes, with 9.22 per 100,000 licensed drivers.

On the other hand, six of the top 10 states with the best drivers were in the Northeast, including Massachusetts, which ranked as the state with the safest drivers, scoring 0 out of 100 on Forbes Advisors' scale.

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