25 States With the Worst Drivers

States With the Worst Drivers

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States With the Worst Drivers
Chris Ryan/istockphoto


The worst drivers always seem to have certain plates on their cars, don't they? Maybe from that lowbrow neighboring state that always coming over to yours for jobs and nightlife. Maybe a personalized plate from your own state that lets you know they feel entitled to any lane they choose but won't signal when coming over. Or maybe it's that state with all the retirees who seem to visit yours solely to drive 50 in the left lane on major highways. If they're from any of the states SmartAsset singled out — taking into account the percentage of drivers with insurance, DUIs per driver, average deaths per miles driven, and how often residents search terms such as "traffic ticket" online — they rank among the worst in the nation.

24. (Tie) Ohio

25. (TIE) OHIO

The 0.95 people who die on Ohio roads for every 100 million miles driven is among the lowest fatality rates in the country. So what's dragging down Ohio? Roughly 4.3 DUI arrests per every 1,000 drivers and the 12.4 percent of drivers who just don't feel like paying for insurance. The latter makes accidents here a huge risk for drivers.

24. (Tie) Michigan


Michigan's fatality rate of 1.07 per 100 million driving miles is also fairly low, but it also averages around four DUI arrests for every 1,000 drivers. Oh, and the 20.3 percent of drivers here who are uninsured is third-worst in the nation.

23. Wisconsin
Dusan Ilic/istockphoto


It seems safe at first glance. The 0.95 deaths per 100 million miles traveled is fairly low in comparison with other states. But the 5.84 DUIs per 1,000 drivers is high, even in beer country. Meanwhile, 14.3 percent of drivers here are uninsured, making the potential for costly accidents somewhat high.

22. (Tie) Washington


Oregon drivers blame Washington drivers for much of the bad driving in their state, and they somewhat have a point. Though the state averages just 0.88 deaths per every 100 million miles traveled, its 4.37 DUIs per 1,000 drivers outpaces Oregon (3.2), while 17.4 percent of all Washington drivers go uninsured.

21. (Tie) North Dakota


Roughly 94 percent of drivers here are insured, which isn't bad. Even the 1.16 drivers killed per every 100 million miles driven isn't too terrible. But the Dakotas have earned the ignominious distinction of having the highest DUI rates in the country, and not by a little: 11.4 drivers in every 1,000 (or more than one in every 100) are arrested here for DUI. (In South Dakota, it's 11.7.)

20. North Carolina


We'll warn that you're going to see Southern states on this list a lot. Five of the top 10 states with the worst drivers are in the South, tending to have the highest fatality rates and lowest auto insurance rates. In North Carolina, the Insurance Information Institute industry group considers a quarter of all drivers high-risk. Though 93.5 percent of all drivers here are insured, nearly five out of every 1,000 are caught driving while intoxicated while racking up 1.2 fatalities for every 100 million miles driven.

19. Hawaii


One in every 10 drivers in Hawaii is uninsured. That isn't helpful when nearly six out of every 1,000 drivers is arrested for DUI and there's more than one death per every 100 million miles driven. The latter two statistics aren't the worst on this list, but that relatively low rate of insurance isn't helping.

18. Georgia


The good news for Georgia drivers is that only three out of every 1,000 people on the road will be arrested for DUI. The bad news? Just about everything else. There are 1.3 deaths for every 100 million miles driven, and just 88 percent of drivers are insured. That gives the people around those drivers a one in 10 chance of being covered for damages or medical claims should they run afoul of these folk.

16. (Tie) Oklahoma


We've already reached the point in this list where it's just a given that 10 percent of drivers aren't going to be insured. That's 19 states with tough odds for drivers or pedestrians struck by a vehicle. Oklahoma's 89.5 percent insurance rate is bad enough on its own, but having four out of every 1,000 drivers inebriated enough to be arrested and 1.4 deaths for every 100 million miles traveled only compounds the issue.

16. (Tie) Colorado


Maybe Colorado should take a bit less pride in its beer brewing heritage when these statistics are taken into consideration. The DUI rate is bad: 6.3 out of every 1,000 drivers arrested. Only the Dakotas fare worse, each seeing above a whopping 11 out of every 1,000 drivers facing DUI charges. And with just 86.7 percent of drivers insured here, collisions can get costly.

15. Arkansas


Welcome to the fifth-highest fatality rate on this list. In Arkansas, there are 1.52 deaths for every 100 million miles traveled by drivers. A relatively low DUI rate (2.89 drivers in every 1,000) has done little to make roads safer. If a horrific crash should happen, just 83.4 percent of Arkansas drivers are insured, putting the odds of shelling out for damages at close to 20 percent.

14. Nevada


Another state with a relatively high DUI arrest rate, Nevada sees four out of every 1,000 drivers hauled away for driving under the influence. Though the fatality rate here is 1.2 for every 100 million miles, an 89.4 percent insurance rate often makes it costly for those who manage to survive accidents here.

13. Louisiana
Art Wager/istockphoto


No, the home of the Big Easy and Mardi Gras doesn't have an imposing DUI rate: Just 1.57 arrests out of every 1,000 drivers. But the 1.54 deaths for every 100 million miles of Louisiana roads each year is the fifth-worst in the nation. It's also a place where you're taking your chances even with minor accidents, as 13 percent of all drivers are uninsured.

11. (Tie) South Carolina
Peeter Viisimaa/istockphoto


Blame the score of retirees, blame the 4.34 out of every 1,000 drivers arrested for DUI, or just blame South Carolina in general, but the 1.86 deaths per every 100 million miles — nearly one for every 50 — is the highest vehicle fatality rate in the country. If not for the 90.6 percent of drivers here who are insured, South Carolina would rank far higher on this list.

11. (Tie) Kentucky


It's all frightening in whiskey country. The DUI rate here is sixth-highest in the country at 5.88 DUI arrests per 1,000 drivers. The 1.69 deaths per every 100 million miles is tied for the second-worst fatality rate in the U.S. Even if you are struck by a vehicle here and live, the 11.5 percent of drivers here who are uninsured can make that experience very expensive.

9. (Tie) Arizona
Art Wager/istockphoto


Scoring in the top half of all four metrics used in this survey, Arizona is a nightmare. According to the 2016 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Arizona had 962 drivers die on its roads. That's 1.46 fatalities per 100 million million miles driven. That's down 37 percent since 1994, but still among the worst in the country. The 88 percent of motorists insured isn't great for those who get into accidents here, either.

9. (Tie) Alaska


As SmartAsset points out, Alaska ranks in the Top 10 for the Big 3 metrics: Insurance, DUI, and fatalities. Only the low rate of searching "traffic tickets" and "parking tickets" keeps it from ranking higher. Alaska has the sixth-highest DUI rate (5.92 out of every 1,000 drivers) and the fourth-highest fatality rate (1.6 deaths for every 100 million miles). If ranked by just those two categories, it would be No. 1.

8. Florida


It ranked No. 1 last year, but still tops the rankings in one very important category: The lowest rate of insured drivers in the country at 73 percent. As if having a quarter of the state uninsured wasn't bad enough, Florida averages 1.47 fatalities per 100 million miles driven. That's actually down from 2.2 fatalities per 100 million miles driven in 1994, but Florida still had nearly 3,200 fatalities in 2016.

7. Alabama


Alabama residents search traffic or speeding tickets at the fourth-highest rate in the country. That may be Alabamans' curious nature, but could also indicate a proclivity for lawbreaking. The latter would be more far-fetched if 18 percent of drivers weren't uninsured and 1.5 people didn't die for every 100 million vehicle miles driven in Alabama — the eighth-highest fatality rate in the country.

5. (Tie) Texas


It's a big state that requires driving, but it isn't particularly good at it. The state searches the term "speeding ticket" at the ninth-highest rate. The fatality rate per 100 million million driven miles is also higher than average, at 1.39 deaths. With 15 percent of drivers uninsured and 4.1 out of every 1,000 arrested for DUI, it's a shame that the best way to get anywhere in Texas is with your own vehicle.

5. (Tie) New Mexico


You have a one in five chance of being struck by a driver without insurance while driving through New Mexico. Just 79 percent of drivers have auto insurance, and those drivers aren't all that cautious. The state has the 11th-highest rate of DUIs (5.61 per 1,000 drivers) and the 12th-highest fatality rate per 100 million miles driven (1.44).

3. (Tie) Missouri


Missouri ranks 10th for rate of searching traffic tickets or speeding tickets, which suggests that they're handed out here fairly often. About 14 percent of drivers here are uninsured and 4.58 out of every 1,000 get arrested for DUI, but that isn't the worst of it: Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that 1.28 people die for every 100 million vehicle miles traveled in Missouri. That's up from 1.21 in 2015.

3. (Tie) California
Art Wager/istockphoto


There are lots of big cities, lots of traffic, and lots of road rage. That isn't helpful when 15.2 percent of drivers are uninsured and 5.4 out of every 1,000 are arrested for DUI. The upside? Just 1.07 drivers killed per 100 million miles driven — one of the lowest rates in the country.

2. Tennessee
Jorge Villalba/istockphoto


Tennessee ranks fifth in percent of uninsured drivers (20 percent), 19th for DUIs per thousand drivers (4.45) and 16th for people killed per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (1.35). In fact, Tennessee ranks in the top 20 in every metric. If it scored in the Top 10 for even one more category, it would have been No. 1.

1. Mississippi


Mississippi took this one easily. About 1.7 drivers die for every 100 million miles driven and roughly one in every four drivers (23.7 percent) are uninsured, which raises the chance that an accident will lead to someone paying for repairs out of pocket. Meanwhile, according to Google Trends, Mississippi has the 11th-highest search volume for ticket offenses.