Everyone, it seems, has an opinion about why Baltimore’s drivers are terrible: people cut each other off, people don’t stop for red lights or stop signs, and, of course, there are the ever-present potholes we hit. All of these reasons may be true a lot of the time. It’s quite likely they’re true at least part of the time. But insurance companies rely on numbers, not opinions, and the numbers rank Baltimore drivers emphatically last.
Allstate’s Rankings of Best and Worst Drivers
Allstate Insurance recently examined how many years drivers generally average between insurance claims. Across the United States for 2017, the average number of years between the filing of automotive crash claims is 10 years. Baltimore’s average is fewer than four years—3.8, to be exact.
Allstate Insurance also looked at how often drivers brake hard, which you might need to do to avoid rear-ending someone. The national average is about 19 incidents of hard braking for every 1,000 miles. For Baltimore drivers, the average is 29.3 incidents of hard braking per 1,000 miles.
After crunching all of the numbers, Allstate compiled a list of 200 cities, from best drivers to worst. Baltimore’s rank was 200 out of 200. The 2017 ranking was barely better, listing us 199th. At least in 2017 we beat Boston, often considered to have the worst drivers in the nation. In 2018, Boston beat us, taking 199th place.
Tell Me about Maryland’s Numbers
Despite these dismal statistics, the state of Maryland ranks 11th best out of 51 (the District of Columbia is included). Our ranking is courtesy of data compiled by CarInsuranceComparison.com that originated with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The state, as a whole, just missed the top ten, mostly because of our drunk driving statistics. In the comparison, each state was ranked according to five factors:
- Fatality rate for every 100 million miles driven
- Number of fatalities from not obeying traffic laws
- Number of fatalities from drunk driving
- Number of fatalities from speeding
- Number of fatalities from careless or reckless driving.
Nationally, both 2016 and 2017 have seen total traffic deaths top 40,000, according to National Safety Council reports. In previous years, the number of fatalities had been trending down.
We’re not sure why Baltimore is trending so much worse than the rest of Maryland when it comes to traffic deaths, but we do know that we can turn this terrible trend around if we want to.
How Can We Improve?
It turns out that a staggering 94 percent of motor vehicle crashes arise from driver error, meaning distraction, reckless behavior like speeding and aggressive driving, drunk driving, fatigued driving, and simply not paying attention behind the wheel. Reducing driver error will go a long way toward lowering traffic fatalities.
How can you help? Examine your own driving behaviors and change any that are counterproductive. Some suggestions for creating safer roads (and preventing injury to yourself and loved ones) include:
- Pay attention. You are behind the wheel of a piece of machinery that can kill others—and you.
- Click your seat belt every single time.
- Ignore your cell phone while you are behind the wheel. If it’s urgent, pull off the road before you answer or text.
- Never drive under the influence, not even of over-the-counter drugs such as cold medications that can make you groggy.
- Never drive when you feel the overwhelming urge to sleep.
- Watch out for everyone else and drive defensively.
- Teach your teen driver the basics of operating a vehicle safely.
- Learn how to use your vehicle’s safety features.
- Find out if your car has been recalled, and resolve any issues.
Nine-and-a-half crashes out of ten are largely preventable. Don’t become a grim statistic.
A Skilled and Caring Baltimore Car Crash Attorney
At the Law Offices of Steven H. Heisler, we have devoted our practice to defending the rights of personal injury victims. We know how traumatic a serious car accident can be for both the injured person and for his or her family. If you or a loved one was seriously injured in any kind of car crash, you may be entitled to various kinds of financial compensation, such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Keep in mind, however, that there is a statute of limitations – or a time limit – for filing personal injury claims. If you have been injured in an accident, you should not delay. Call Steve today for a free initial consultation, or use our convenient and confidential online form.