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Alabama Motorists Among Top 5 Worst Drivers in Nation

Jan 24, 2014 - Car Accidents, Tuscaloosa by

Drivers in almost every state believe they have a monopoly on the “worst drivers” list.
Our Tuscaloosa car accident lawyers tend to believe this has a great deal to do with the fact that so many people have been either involved in a serious crash or have experienced a close call.

But as it turns out, Alabamans actually do have a legitimate stake in this claim.

A recent report by indicates that Alabama ranks No. 5 in the country for having the worst drivers on the road. It’s not a distinction of which we should be proud. However, the hope is that perhaps this is the kind of wake-up call we need.

Motorists need to take these concerns seriously because it translates into a very real cost in terms of expenses for emergency personnel and time lost in traffic jams, as well as millions of dollars in damages. That includes not just property damage, but also the loss of human life.

Among some of the top crash-causing behavior: speeding, drunk driving, road rage, inattention and just general carelessness.

The study conducted by researchers at the insurance comparison site involved culling data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the National Motorists Association. The five categories that were scored were:

  • Death rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled;
  • Failure to obey (including seat belt and traffic signal citations);
  • DUI;
  • Speeding tickets;
  • Careless driving citations.

Results were tabulated in a single score given to each state, which was then ranked by category and then overall. So for example, Louisiana ranked No. 1 as having the worst drivers overall. However, the state ranked 38th in terms of drunk driving. Still, the study authors suspect that the lower number of arrests in that state may be reflective of lax enforcement efforts more than anything else.

In addition to Alabama and Louisiana, rounding out the top five were South Carolina, Mississippi and Texas.

Here in Alabama, the state’s rating worsened compared to last year, as a result of a marked uptick in the number of careless driving reports. In 2012, the state ranked 36th for careless driving. Last year, we ranked 7th.

Of course, it’s worth noting that these kind of rankings aren’t exactly scientific, but the hope is that it will generate a fair amount of debate on the kinds of driving efforts on which our state needs to focus.

Under Alabama Code 32-5A-190, reckless driving is a crime in this state. It is defined legally as anyone who operates a vehicle carelessly or heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard for the rights or safety of persons or property in a manner that is likely to endanger others.

Reckless driving is frequently charged alongside DUI, but it is an altogether separate charge that can include dangerous lane changes, speeding, texting while driving and other potentially risky behind-the-wheel behavior.

It’s imperative that each driver take personal responsibility to ensure that each time they choose to get behind the wheel, they are upholding their own safety and the safety of others in the highest regard.

Additional Resources:

Alabama ranks among top 10 states with the worst drivers, Dec. 23, 2014, Staff Report, WBRC

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