Worst Drivers in the U.S.–Almost

Which state would you think had the worst drivers? New York? California? Maybe Massachusetts, with their infamous Boston drivers?

You might be surprised to find out that South Carolina was third overall in the U.S. for the title of the state with the worst drivers. Only Texas and Louisiana beat us by tying for first. To add insult to injury, South Carolina was first in the rate of fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. This fact is not something we should crow about, although we at least scored slightly better than the previous year overall, when we were second-worst, not third.

The information originated with study based on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics that concentrated on the reasons for fatal car crashes in the U.S. Each state was ranked in several categories:

  • Failure to obey (percentage of crashes with fatalities involving driving with an invalid license, not using seat belts, and traffic signal violations)
  • Driving under the influence (percentage of crashes with fatalities involving alcohol consumption)
  • Speeding (percentage of fatalities related to speed)
  • Careless driving (rate of fatalities among bicyclists and pedestrians per 100,000 persons)
  • Rate of fatalities for every 100 million vehicle miles traveled.

While South Carolina did not score well in the “rate of fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled” category, the state scored 34th in the “failure to obey” category, which means we are, in some ways, more law-abiding than 33 other states. South Carolina also scored 7th in both speeding and careless driving, and 10th in driving under the influence, not such good scores. Careless driving is considered the best predictor of how bad the state’s driving is overall with regard to traffic fatalities.

Interestingly enough, our neighbors to the north—North Carolina, that is—were ranked 12th overall. NC’s fatality rate was 22nd; the failure to obey rate was 20th; speeding was 4th; careless driving was 15th; and driving under the influence was 41st—a good score.

It’s hard to know what might account for North Carolina’s having a lower overall traffic fatalities rate, but because many fatal crashes happen among young and inexperienced drivers, it’s interesting to compare the training required of new drivers in both states:

  • In SC, a teenager must put in 40 hours of driving with a parent or guardian.
  • In NC, teens must rack up 72 hours of driving with a parent or guardian before a full provisional license is granted.
  • Both SC and NC require new teen drivers to drive at night under supervision for at least ten hours.
  • Both SC and NC require teenagers to take a class in driver’s education. However, the differences in the content of the required course are significant.
  • In NC, a teen must produce a certificate demonstrating that they took an approved course that included at least 30 hours of classroom time, as well as six hours of instruction behind the wheel, before they can test for either a learner’s permit or a license.
  • In SC, new drivers need to complete only eight hours in the classroom, as well as six hours of actual driving instruction.

Could these dissimilarities in new driver training be contributing significantly to traffic fatalities? The jury is still out, but the possibility exists.

Seeking truth. Securing justice.

If you have been injured in a car crash, or have lost a loved one as the result of such an accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries or your loss. If reckless driving played a role in an accident, it is likely that the behavior equated to negligence in the collision. When that is the case, victims need to be compensated for their injuries, and the negligent driver needs to be held accountable for his or her reckless driving.

The best way to ensure such a result is to contact an experienced attorney now to discover the legal options you may have. The Louthian Law Firm has been helping injured South Carolinians since 1959 by providing experienced, hard-hitting representation in settlement negotiations and at trial. We will be happy to meet with you for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. In fact, you will not pay any fees until we win your case.

Call our Columbia auto accident lawyers today toll free at 1-803-454-1200, or use our online contact form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.