By on September 5, 2014

DSC_0048
Boston: not the worst?

According to Allstate’s latest annual “America’s Best Drivers Report,” three Massachusetts cities have the worst drivers. Allstate’s analysis included the nation’s 200 largest cities. But fear not, fellow Bay Staters: our Masshole reputation is undeserved, according to Slate Magazine. They have come up with their own top (worst) 40, and we’re way down the list.

We’ll tell you who those losers are. But first: here’s Slate’s critique of Allstate, followed by it’s own methodology.

Allstate bases its data on a single metric, average number of years between crashes, culled from its claims data. The company also insures a mere 10 percent of drivers in the US, including none in the Bay State. It considers neither fatalities, nor drunk driving, nor “other forms of vehicular mayhem” in its ratings, according to Slate.

Allstate also does not account for differences in annual miles. But “less mileage means fewer accidents, even if you’re a terrible driver,” says Slate writer Brian Palmer, who performed Slate’s investigation.

Palmer used four metrics: years between crashes, automotive fatalities, alcohol-related driving deaths, and pedestrian strikes. He made some adjustments, for example, for mileage (“San Franciscans average 6.5 years between crashes, but they drive 74 percent as many miles as the average for cities in our survey, so we lower their years-between-accidents to 4.8…”).

Palmer also made ample other adjustments in the data, as needed. For example, he weighted pedestrian strikes at less than the other three metrics, for 19 percent of the total, because he considered the former data somewhat weaker than the other three sets, which he weighted equally.

Palmer did not use ticketing statistics in the weighting “because they have more to do with policing than with the real rate of infractions,” he writes, noting, for example, that while Oregon’s arrest rate for driving under the influence was nearly triple that of Louisiana’s in 2011, “the Bayou state lost twice as many residents per capita as Oregon” to booze-infused car crashes. He added that there is no reason to think that tickets for running red lights or speeding are any more representative of real rates of infringement than DUI. Ticketing data is also difficult to obtain, writes Palmer, suggesting that cities fear “fluctuations will be viewed as cynical coffer-filling rather than safety initiatives.” Are we surprised?

Palmer does offer a major caveat on his findings: “…this isn’t a policy document. It’s a parlor game,” and he invites readers to come up with their own metrics. (I might have lumped all fatalities together. Whether or not booze is involved doesn’t make a difference if you’re dead.)

The major findings: Miami, with its vice and it’s heat, has the country’s worst drivers, followed by Philly, two more Florida cities, and Baltimore.

Miami has more fatalities and more pedestrian strikes than any other city. In fact, Miami had around 20 percent more ped strikes than the Big Apple—which ranks a mere 25th worst on Slate’s list—despite the fact that Manhattan’s streets churn with pedestrian mobs fighting their way across the turbulent flows of cars, buses, trucks, and taxis. (I have witnessed as many as eight taxis on a crowded Manhattan avenue, fighting with each other over every additional car length.)

And what of those cities with the bad reputations? Boston was #32; safer, even, than Seattle (#31)! (Caveat: the crowded, slow driving in Our Fair City, often on narrow, winding streets, reduces the odds of mayhem, and Boston, along with Newark and Providence, had fewer than 20 fatalities.) Sodom-on-the-Potomac (AKA Washington, DC), Allstate’s #1 for 2012, was #17 on Slate’s list.

Among states, Florida—and not Massachusetts—deserves the special prize. Five of the top ten worst cities are in the Sunshine State.

Holzman’s website is Motorlegends.com

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78 Comments on “Sun Shines on Nation’s Worst Drivers...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Miami = old people driving big cars with slow reactions, ergo pedestrian strikes.

    “You know, you could put a fence around these condos and call it an insane asylum. Nobody would know the difference!”

    • 0 avatar

      Miami also has the most fatalities. You don’t get fatalities from slow-driving elderly folk.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Town Car Congressional Sedans are heavy.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Oh yes you do, David. T-Bones and bus stop clearings don’t take much speed to be fatal. Plus, there are going to be the ones they cause or are a big factor but which don’t get blamed on them.

        • 0 avatar

          While drivers get worse beyond a certain age, they drive less, and fewer of those people drive, and they drive more slowly. So I don’t think you can blame them for Miami’s (and other Florida cities’) high rates of fatalities.

          http://archive.wgrz.com/news/article/174275/1/Statistics-On-Accidents-Involving-Elderly-Drivers

          Florida has other problems that may be contributing.
          http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/review-why-we-drive-the-way-we-do-and-what-it-says-about-us/

          But bear in mind the Slate columnist responsible for that analysis says–as I quoted him–“…this isn’t a policy document. its a parlor game.”

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            One should also bear in mind that policy documents are simply parlor games with results willfully skewed to suit lobbyists and pressure groups…..

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      Old people are also much more susceptible to death due to motor vehicle injury; they don’t bounce well inside or outside of a car. Their (bad) driving does not just kill others, it often kills the elderly driver or passenger.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      Reasonable argument. From a completely subjective view it could also be the increased days of sunshine and the pedestrian-positive tourist sites. NYC streets are crowded but so crowded and so self-controlled that pedestrian strikes are less often and less fatal. By comparison a city with moderate speed and traffic mixed with high-sunshine days and increased foot traffic over less well-defined and constant flow patterns creates pedestrian accidents waiting to happen.

      In other words: If every light has 10 peds crossing and the average speed is less than 15 miles an hour you’re less likely to hit people than 1-3 peds crossing every other light and average speed is closer to 25 or 30.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        “In other words: If every light has 10 peds crossing and the average speed is less than 15 miles an hour you’re less likely to hit people than 1-3 peds crossing every other light and average speed is closer to 25 or 30.”

        That’s SF in a nutshell. I’m not sure how SF ranks in ped strikes looking at statistics, but it is considered a big problem out here. They most commonly get hit with drivers racing to the light to take a left before the light turns.

        One obvious difference between SF and Boston in this regard is many lights in Boston stop all vehicular traffic before pedestrians get a walk signal. In SF, peds walk with the green, making them vulnerable to the turning cars.

      • 0 avatar

        the traffic can flow quite fast in NYC on the major north-south avenues, even when crowded. the stoplights are often nicely timed (for cars).

    • 0 avatar

      It is not just the old folks. Down in Deerfield Beach, I went to the local supermarket for supplies. You could get a lawn chair and a cooler, and make an afternoon of just watching the parking lot. The young people aren’t great either. My theory is that the relentless sun has something to do with it. Crazy, but lots of interesting cars in “old folk stasis”.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Every new massive immigration wave makes it worse and worse in Houston. The combination of worst practices from around the nation, and beyond, can be scary.

  • avatar

    Was heat and vice a figure of speak, or literal. Being Miami a tourist city, with lots of nightlife, the vice part I get. But heat? Would affect accidents and fatalities how? BTW, honest question, not some internet challenge.

    Very interesting article, thanks. Down here, from what I read and remember, traffic fatalities have to do with the state’s development. The worst-off the state, the most fatalities (no idea of the metric used). So the North and Northeast suffer more, and broadly speaking, the further South you go, the safer in traffic you are.

    • 0 avatar
      James2

      “So the North and Northeast suffer more, and broadly speaking, the further South you go, the safer in traffic you are.”

      Hawaii is about as South as you can go (as far as remaining in the U.S.) but… we got our share of lousy drivers. Maybe our relatively short driving distances affect the stats.

      • 0 avatar

        Ooops was talking of my country here, Brazil. Sorry for any confusion.

      • 0 avatar
        formula m

        It snows in the northeast. Way different conditions than other states. I don’t believe the bs that Allstate publishes. I live in Canada and moved from Ottawa, Canada’s capital city which is like 100mi from the US border to Sudbury in Northern Ontario for school. My rates went up 33%. Greater Ottawa area has a population of around 1 mill. Sudbury, 100,000. I read an article in my CAA (our AAA) magazine which stated that Allstate claimed Sudbury was in the top 5 cities for lowest claims etc. I called them for a quote and they were even worse than my current provider. I asked why one of the lowest claims rate city’s in canada with a population 1/10 of the city I moved from could have higher rates. I was told they don’t have many customers here, that’s why they have very few claims. I finish school in 4 months, looking forward to my lower rates back home in Ottawa.
        I am also 29 and went back to school after getting an Automotive Marketing Degree 8yrs ago. Car business wasn’t so hot working for GM from 07-09

    • 0 avatar

      Marcelo,

      the vice and heat are plays on two TV shows, Miami Vice and Miami Heat.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      Technically warmer weather creates more traffic and more pedestrians. But I believe as stated it was more a play on the idea of the Miami Heat & Vice…

  • avatar
    mcs

    Driving around Boston can be challenging. Legal breakdown lane driving at certain times, evil mutant intersections like Bell Circle, and narrow sections of road like the East Street Bridge in Westwood:

    youtube.com/watch?v=oOEnThNcb2c
    youtube.com/watch?v=Lyi3DLK7Zxo
    youtube.com/watch?v=sxUUUaE1O9o
    youtube.com/watch?v=8rNXipn_tDo

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      It’s all the rotaries. They make Massholes dizzy.

      Plus, all the folks who got their licenses from crackerjack boxes.

      As a former NYer who couldn’t care less about baseball, I still recall the shittiest drivers I encountered in NY and throughout New England had Massachusetts plates.

      Virginia drivers _might_ be worse, but thankfully I spent very little time in areas that they frequent. VA cops are bloody fascists though, and any state that charges annual property tax on cars is retarded.

      • 0 avatar
        Synchromesh

        I’ve been driving in MA for over 17 years and yes, the drivers are generally horrible. I wouldn’t mind calling them worst in the country. But if you think NY is so much better you’re plain wrong. I’ve driven in NY too and while New Yorkers seem to be less boneheaded over all, they’re far more aggressive. I had to FORCE every single lane change pretty hard while that was rarely a problem in Boston.

        Worst cops in New England by far – New Hampshire.

        Of course after moving to SF, I’m enjoying the much better roads, weather and drivers. But it seems the cops are horrible though. There is just no place with out caveats left.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          >> Worst cops in New England by far – New Hampshire.

          Once I was headed into the tolls at Hooksett NH and the light at the top of the booth turned from green to red. There was zero traffic, so I was able to easily change lanes to the adjacent booth. After I paid my toll, I was immediately stopped as I was pulling away.

          Apparently, when I changed lanes I clipped the beginning of the solid white line separating the toll lanes. I argued that it was a legitimate change. He went back and talked with the booth operator and decided not to write me up.

          Still, that had to be one of the lamest attempts at giving me a ticket ever pulled by a cop. The cop had probably been standing there all day with out any results and was desperate for something.

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          Another Boston to SF transplant!

          I think Boston vs SF is a good example of aggressive vs inattentive driving. You’ll see a lot of stupid moves in the Bay Area – exiting highways from the left lanes is somewhat common.

          Overall, I prefer driving in the Bay Area. While the inattentive drivers out here are less predictable, the aggression in MA is over the top.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    I’ll trust Allstate since it’s their business and they do it very well. I doubt anyone at Slate is smart enough to be an actuary. Nerdy, yes. Smart, no.

    The fact that they insure no one in MA may mean something.

    Slate as a source is worth what you pay for it.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      Slate seems to be home base for many authors who profess to be experts on subjects they have no actual real world experience in. Lots of 20 somethings opining on everything while knowing very little about the world outside of Manhattan or Brooklyn.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Thornmark,
      Insurance is regulated by state in the US, and a few states, like NJ and Massachusetts have set pricing so low that many competitors have traditionally avoided them.

      So Allstate not insuring people in MA is a function of the historical pricing regime and the fact that people are very loyal to their insurers; market penetration takes a long time.

      It would be unwise to read into Allstate’s no-show in Massachusetts any statement about the quality of drivers there.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        MA is better off without Allstate.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          Allstate not in Massachusetts?

          I looked at the Mass insurance commission license database, Companies Licensed for Auto Liability (Designation 6G), and it says otherwise.Their auto division is NAIC# 37907.

          37907 Allstate Vehicle and Property Insurance Company

          I don’t know if they’re writing policies, but they’re definitely licensed to do it.

          Note: I emailed the author of the Slate article asking him what his source was for the information. Not sure if I’ll hear back from him.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Some of the national insurers are licensed to sell in Mass, so that they can retain their customers who live elsewhere and then move to Massachusetts. These insurers technically write policies in Massachusetts, but don’t market them actively.

            Retaining insurance customers is easy and profitable, while gaining new customers is difficult (which is why you see a pale comedienne with too much makeup and a lizard on TV all the time).

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          According to seemingly most Massachusians, MA is better off without any of them evil corporations at all.

          Which would be fine enough, if only they didn’t then move en masse to NH in search of employment with said corporations. And then proceed to attempt ridding NH of the scourge that is productive jobs as well…..

          The pathology runs way deeper than a mere lack of driving skill….

          That being said, Cambridge is still my favorite city in America to spend time in….. So I can sort of understand the trustafarian desire to drive away those annoying bores who kill the vibe by obsessing over money all the time.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            >> Which would be fine enough, if only they didn’t then move en masse to NH in search of employment with said corporations.

            If NH is such a paradise, then why is it that in the mornings i-93 headed from NH to MA is bumper-to-bumper crawling along and there is almost zero traffic going north to NH? If there are so many great jobs up there, why are they driving down here for work?

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            MCS,
            As I’m sure you know, Massachusetts leads the country as a state that favors employment, education, low crime and health care.

            These facts conflict with Stuki’s politics, so he decides to forget them.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    There’s a saying out that goes, “You can make statistics say whatever you want them to say,” and this analysis proves it. Tweaking data to supposedly “level the playing field” works to unbalance the whole argument; but then, relying solely on one company’s claims figures also unbalances the data if we assume the, “The company also insures a mere 10 percent of drivers in the US, including none in the Bay State” is correct. As such, it appears to me that neither paradigm is truly accurate. Then again, the statistics that supposedly prove that full-sized pickup trucks are the safest vehicles on the road could be flat rebutted by a single accident where a full-sized truck crashed and rolled on a bright, sunny day and killed three in the truck and an innocent bystander mowing his lawn down in Georgia last week. The only other vehicle involved? The riding lawnmower that the truck rolled over as it tumbled around after the crash.

    So, what data do we use to get an accurate analysis of “safe” cities?
    How about raw police data that records every crash? How about polling not just one, but ALL vehicle insurance companies who have clients in the various locations? Collate this data and you can discover how many, how severe and what kinds of crashes across the country for a truly unbiased report.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    ” figures don’t lie but liars sure do figure ” .

    I grew up Down East and have driven lots in Boston , the ” bad driver habits ” I remember were more in doing anything to keep moving rather than crashing or bumping pedestrians so ” bad drivers ” is a big variable .

    Yes , I still use those Boston bad habits daily although I no longer drive on the sidewalk .

    (much)

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      Visiting my dad and uncle in Warwick early this year was really something, because people in Rhode Island apparently can’t drive for sh*t either.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      Heh, I remember East Village traffic so bad one time I actually shut off my motorcycle, dismounted, and pushed it up the block on the sidewalk to the light thanks to an unloading truck blocking traffic.

      Past some cops in a squad car.

      They didn’t get out.

  • avatar
    Dirty Dingus McGee

    Having had the opportunity(misfortune?)to travel a lot with my job, I would say a tie between Atlanta and Miami. Both have a tremendous influx of immigrants who have no knowledge of traffic laws, transplants who brought bad habits with them, and folks who just plain don’t care(left lane bandits, slam the brakes to cut across 4 lanes to get to an exit, etc). Metro Atlanta gets its share of country folks who get intimidated by the traffic, Miami its share of “Q Tips”, either who can screw up a perfectly good commute.

    I guess a slight edge to Miami with the old timers; it is after all the Grim Reapers waiting room.

  • avatar
    johnny ringo

    The fact that this survey was based only on Allstate’s accident statistics-and Allstate insures only 10% of the drivers in the U.S.A. makes this survey basically worthless.

  • avatar
    dtremit

    In addition to slow speed, my understanding is that the ubiquity and quality of health care facilities in the Boston area has some effect on the fatality rate.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Rural areas tend to have higher fatality rates in part because the crash speeds are higher and there is additional time involved getting medical services. There is also an issue of vehicles being older, and therefore being less likely to have the latest safety devices, etc.

      In the sticks, crash victims are more likely to die during the “golden hour”. If you’re going to be involved in a big wreck, then you’re better off doing it close to a trauma center.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @Pch101 – correct. The distance to a Level 1 trauma centre is going to be great assuming there is one around.. Even lesser levels of care are going to be outside the golden hour. If one crashes 30 minutes away from a hospital it will take at least 60 minutes to get them to care based on paramedic unit travel time and at scene time. E-Vac helicopters can shorten times but can be limited by lack of safe landing sites, weather and darkness.

        Speeds can be higher and I do believe that drinking and driving is more common. Seat belt use and age of vehicle can play a role as well. Another factor is less traffic means that an MVC can go unreported for a greater period of time. Cell reception is also an issue.

        Another issue affecting rural accidents is road maintenance. Winter snow plowing and sanding is a higher priority for high traffic volume areas with higher population densities.

        In my part of the world most gravel roads are industrial roads. Hitting a loaded logging truck on a VHF radio controlled single lane road isn’t conducive to a favourable outcome.

  • avatar
    ixim

    It is well known that all drivers are superior to everyone else on the road. Just ask them. Meanwhile, even the most highly skilled motor vehicle operators make mistakes on the road. They usually survive.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The US for a modern nation can claim to be one of the best with driving fatalities.

    This is a pity. The overall transport infrastructure is good in the US.

    I think the biggest let down is driver training, licensing, and patrolling of a poorer driving culture.

    Attempting to improve vehicle safety is good, but vehicle safety must go much further. What is the cost to society for each accident or fatality?

    Even the WHO has recognised the economical impact to a country due to road fatalities and injuries.

    My view is, it isn’t a god given right to have a vehicle and to be allowed to drive on a public road. Why? Once on the road you are accountable for every one and thing around you.

    This shouldn’t be taken as lightly as it is in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      Onus

      Licensing is different state by state. New England has some of the better drivers training. Australia is similar in that aspect with the states is it not?

      Infrastructure probably looks good out west but out here ( Southern New England ) not so much. Many highways were built before the Interstate system. Not much room was planned for expansion. Weird stuff like left on ramps instead of the correct right ones. Crowded highways.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Australia used to be similar to the US regarding unique rules across the various states. But, they have standardised every aspect of road construction, licensing, road rules, etc.

        In the EU when I drive, even though I’m on the opposite side of the road, signage, road markings, and road rules are even similar to Australia.

        I do know even where my mother lives there are different rules between townships. The town she’s in you can make a right turn at a red light unless it is indicated by a sign you can’t.

        Go to Wildwood and you’ll get a ticket for the same right turn.

        This is dangerous. I even noticed road marking differences between Connecticut and New Jersey.

        To reduce accidents a standardised system will aid across the US. I will get informed by some on this site that the US is different etc.

        But, the US Federal government should standardise road rules.

        As for the quality of roads. Australia and every other nation has the same issue with the older routes taken by roads and other easements.

        http://www.ntc.gov.au/viewpage.aspx?documentid=00794

        • 0 avatar
          Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

          Jersey’s fun. Jughandles.

          Also, they tend to put road exit signs _after_ the actual exit. “You just passed the exit for Rt. 17, jerkoff!”

        • 0 avatar
          Onus

          Your road signs are dang close to ours. Warning signs are big yellow diamonds. You write stuff on your signs. Your curve contour signs are also identical. Which bears little resemblance to Vienna convention signs use in Europe. I believe you lane markers are not like our and more similar to Vienna convention.

          http://www.trafficsign.us/650/reg/r3-8.gif

          Not that it is much of an issue. Stop, Yield, etc are all similar. Priority routes can be a bit confusing at first.

          The us has the MUTCD, state can add additional signs. Some signs are very old so they may not comply.

          My big issue with Europe isn’t the different signs its where they are placed on the road. Your eye gets used to looking in a certain area for signs. While driving in Russia i blew through a yield sign that i didn’t see for that exact reason.

          When you switch side of the road your brain is hyper sensitive and you drive better. This happened in Sweden when they switched to the right side from the left in the 60’s. Their crashes dropped significantly after the change but, as people got more used to it they returned to normal.

          Europe also annoys me in that they don’t post speed limit signs. They just expect you to memorize them which i find annoying.

          On the plus side in Russia at least the signs are super high quality. Much more so than the signs we have here.

          But, overall the traffic rules are nearly identical state to state.

      • 0 avatar

        Rhode Island and Massachusetts are the second and third most densely populated states, respectively. There’s a long history in that density. So there wasn’t as much room for highways, and there isn’t as much room to expand those that exist. Luckily, our populations are growing much more slowly than others.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      “The overall transport infrastructure is good in the US.”

      The roadway infrastructure is falling apart across the US, it’s not “good”, it’s in poor shape. Years of neglect caused my poor management of funds, improper construction/materials, and at some times too much weight being placed upon it by trucks/companies that know how to get around weigh facilities. It doesn’t help that the past winter really put a huge burden on the roadways around the mid-west region either.

      There’s lot of projects going on, but it will be many many years before we get out of this mess.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @SC5door
        This is where better licensing and driver education will teach drivers to drive to conditions.

        Many countries have worse roads than the US but yet their road fatalities are lower.

        Yes the US has more vehicles, but the US also has one of the highest rate of ‘metres’ of road per vehicle per capita. So in effect you have more room to drive.

        • 0 avatar
          dtremit

          @Big Al from Oz
          More room to drive, and we drive more. If you look at the fatalities per kilometer traveled, they’re really middle of the pack for developed countries. Our rate is worse than Australia or Germany, but roughly on par with Austria and Belgium, and better than Spain, New Zealand, or Japan.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @dtremit,
            The US is has a very high fatality rate amongst it’s OECD peers. Read this article as I’ve pointed out to Marcelo the devastation road deaths are having on the developing nations. The WHO did a study and the economic effects of a road fatality is huge. You not only have the grieving families, but you also have a huge loss of skillsets that affect a country economically. Each death can be measured in the millions of dollars.

            The interactive map doesn’t give an indication of the rate of vehicle ownership.

            There are some on this site who attempt to use miles travelled etc to justify the higher death rate in the US along with the higher rate vehicle ownership. The fact remains the US fatality rate is way to high.

            I do think a change in licensing of vehicle classes is a must. Those HDs with huge 5th wheelers should on be driven by an adequately trained and licensed person.

            Here in Australia any vehicle with a GVM of over 9 900lbs must be a scaled system of licenses, with a large amount of training and assessing.

            Even young kids have restrictions, ie, number of passengers even hours of vehicle operation in relation to passenger numbers, zero alcohol, and on and on.

            A graduated licensing system of new drivers apply as well, based on an incremental increase over a three year period until they are deemed able to drive and operate a vehicle. There are even restriction on turbo, V8, etc vehicles for new drivers.

            But, there are countries with similar distances travelled or even more with similar rates of vehicle ownership.

            I read an interesting article/study that SUVs, large pickups are a cause for the higher death rate in the US. Due to the recent poorer design of those vehicle by the manufacturers because they were classed a commercial.

            In Australia we now have every new pickup/SUV as a 5 star ANCAP rated vehicle. Even the large mining and industrial companies will not purchase any pickup/commercial vehicle with less than a 5 star rating. This is good as it is forcing manufacturers to design safer vehicles, as well as government regulation making safer vehicles.

            http://www.carsguide.com.au/car-news/interactive-map-of-the-worlds-road-toll-22550#.VAplObvn_IU

            http://roadskillmap.com/#

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I didn’t read his post, but trying to explain this stuff to him is a waste of time.

            Some time ago, I and others attempt to explain the concept of fatality per mile/km to him. It didn’t work because reality doesn’t conform with what he want to hear: his constant refrain is that the US is inferior to Australia.

            Instead of getting a clue, he types a couple of thousand word reply that he has used in the past and that only proves that he lacks reading comprehension. You’re better off scrolling right by the windbag.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Pch101, the van;)
            Then why make a political response to my comment.

            On your own in the UAW call centre? Where are your researchers.

            That’s right, union workers don’t work the weekends, only the dedicated ones to the ‘Cause’ like yourself.

            A Martyr you are.

          • 0 avatar
            probert

            @Big Al from Oz: police, firefighters, many teachers, nurses etc – all work weekends. Is weekend work the metric for you -maybe an Australian thing?

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @probert
            I think you’ll find the people you speak of, especially in Australia are unionised and are on a wage, not a salary.

            I’m a salaried worker for a non-profit, non-charitable organisation. So the ‘metrics’ as you call them to quantify my attributes I give, or how I’m measured as an asset for the organisation I work is different than many workers (worker sounds so socialist).

            I do not strike, I do not have any input into my pay and conditions. I work and do my job through the belief many benefit from my work.

            So, as you can deduct this opposes many unionised socialist traits/requirements.

            If I don’t like what I’m doing, or feel I’m not adequately rewarded for my efforts I will quit and probably gain employment with far better pay external to the agency I employed within.

            One must look at the work arrangements of people prior to attempting to make an assessment of them.

            I personally don’t expect my salaried workers to work weekends. Only when necessary.

            They don’t gain any benefit from this.

            If you are like Pch101, you are driven by political ideals and not reality. Your aim is to reach goals irrespective of the integrity involved.

            Pch101 has volunteered himself for a cause. A cause I highly disagree with and will not support.

      • 0 avatar
        Onus

        It’s pretty crap around here in CT. One of the heaviest roads / viaducts that commuters use everyday is literally cracked in multiple places and held in place by huge aluminum braces / bolted pieces that hold the two cracked sections together. Drivers don’t see this as you have to be on ground level.

        There planning on replacing it but its going to cost a ton of money. They are also considering running it at ground level and moving the railroad lines that caused the viaduct to be built in the first place.

  • avatar
    Onus

    I was about to say something about mass holes but, damn the article beat me ( fellow Connecticut resident here ).

    New England roads are crazy, and disorganized. The plus side is we have no problem with finding a winding country road to enjoy on a nice summer day.

  • avatar
    drksd4848

    Guess what? Both studies are flawed. GREATLY flawed. And both are basically worthless. Even the parlor game one.

    Why?

    Because there is no metric for measuring aggressive driving (drivers who tailgate, pass on double yellow lines, weave in an out of traffic with no turn indicator) and inattentive driving (the guy who pulls out in front of you without looking, forcing you to slam on your brakes, or the person who sits for about 5-10 seconds at an intersection after the T-light changes green). That’s the real way to measure bad drivers.

    How about the amount of people who merge blindly onto a limited access parkway because no one understands what a YIELD sign means, thus forcing the other drivers to either slam on their brakes or swerve into the other lane. According to the law, blowing through a Yield sign is worth as many points on your license as is blowing through a stop sign and is just as dangerous.

    I wonder how many summons were issued for Yield sign violations?

    Oh wait, I’ll take a guess at it. How about NONE!

    Where I live (suburbs of NYC, Rockland County) the aggressive drivers rule the road: excessive speeders on local streets (usually about 15-20mph over the posted speed limit), tailgaters, double-yellow line jumpers etc. Surprisingly, not many people run red lights here.

    Right across the boarder in NJ, it’s dimwitted inattentive drivers, and they run tons of red lights over there.

    And you can’t measure it in terms of summons issued because the police do NOTHING about it. In my area, the only attempt they make in terms of traffic enforcement: rolling an unmanned patrol car around to various roads to feign a police presence. Aggressive driving laws are never enforced unless they are bundled with some other violation because the cop is in a bad mood.

    You can’t measure it in terms of accidents and fatalities because, most often people narrowly escape death on a regular basis. There are far more NEAR accidents than there are accidents. If you could measure the amount of NEAR accidents, the amount of aggressive driving incidents that, by the law, are point violations but go unnoticed or basically unenforced, then you have an accurate study. If I had the power to hand out summons, I would reach any established quota in the first 10 minutes.

    So hear this, TTACers I am the only driver who FAVORS Red light cams and aggressive driver imaging. I want these cameras EVERYWHERE. Even if I get caught (and I have, once for a rolling stop) so be it.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “Because there is no metric for measuring aggressive driving (drivers who tailgate, pass on double yellow lines, weave in an out of traffic with no turn indicator) and inattentive driving (the guy who pulls out in front of you without looking, forcing you to slam on your brakes, or the person who sits for about 5-10 seconds at an intersection after the T-light changes green). That’s the real way to measure bad drivers.”

      From a public policy standpoint, we care most about the number of crashes and the number of deaths. As it turns out, that largely conforms to what the insurance industry cares about.

      A proportion of the riskiest behaviors (intoxication, inattention and recklessness) gets converted into wrecks and fatalities, so those behaviors are already being considered implicitly in any data series that counts wrecks and deaths.

      The system will mostly miss the near misses and the minor incidents, since those don’t get documented, but those matter a lot less. In contrast, virtually every death will be counted, and we care a great deal about trying to prevent those, which makes sense.

      • 0 avatar
        drksd4848

        “The system will mostly miss the near misses and the minor incidents, since those don’t get documented, but those matter a lot less. In contrast, virtually every death will be counted, and we care a great deal about trying to prevent those, which makes sense.”

        Trying to prevent those? How? If I avoid a “minor incident” (read = near fatality) which I do just about every day – WITH MY SON IN THE CAR, “we” didn’t prevent it “we” did nothing but pass laws that police don’t bother to enforce.

        I PREVENTED THE INCIDENT, because I DRIVE DEFENSIVELY. “WE” did NOTHING.

        But everyone loves numbers… wait, check that. Narrow minded, institutionalized peter principle administrators and law makers who are detached from reality, like numbers. Fisher Price statistics touted by incompetent dumb asses.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          ““we” didn’t prevent it “we” did nothing but pass laws that police don’t bother to enforce.”

          Hear, hear! Enforcing the near-misses requires more work than looking at some number on a radar gun.

          Case in point: There is a new traffic light along my daily commute. Prior to this, there would be a bad crash at the intersection every few months. Now, neither road at this intersection is particularly busy (each red light cycle typically stops about 3 or so vehicles going in each direction). The real reason was that people with the stop sign would often merrily pull into fast-moving traffic (55mph posted speed limit) or turn left across the same fast moving traffic. In other words, idiots. Within sight of this intersection is a favorite spot for the badged tax collectors, er, highway patrol to run radar. In ten years of driving this road, I have never once seen the cops ticket anyone for running that stop sign (other than charging those at-fault for an accident). And no, I’ve never gotten a speeding ticket from them along that stretch ;)

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          You’re not really getting it. The crash numbers already account for inattentiveness, intoxication and aggression because those are the underlying causes of the crashes that do occur.

          But it is also true that most mistakes or bad acts don’t result in a crash actually occurring. The crashes that do happen are the result of a sort of perfect storm, when several things go wrong at the same time.

          These incidents are going to happen, and there isn’t anything that the cops can do about it before the fact. There aren’t nearly enough cops to fundamentally change how people drive, and there never will be. Enforcement provides a less-than-perfect solution for dealing with traffic matters.

  • avatar
    is_lander

    The article begins by stating that “… our Masshole reputation is undeserved.” And then sites studies that could either be scientific or flawed and are based on accidents and bad driving. My observations are that being a “Masshole” driver has nothing to do with those statistics. Two of the best drivers I have ever met are self proclaimed Massholes and proud of it. They behave themselves when they drive down South, but when surrounded by other Massholes or Baltimore drivers (ahem) the “Masshole” personalities come out. But they don’t seek trouble or get into accidents and thus don’t contribute to the statistics. It is more about being an asshole while driving on roads surrounded by other assholes. You have to survive. That probably takes more skill than most posses. This reasoning supports the argument that Northern drivers are more skilled (not necessarily better behaved). I will cite New York City drivers as another example. I love driving with them. I have a laid back way of driving from the South, but I find that New Yorkers drive with a purpose. I can blend in with them by increasing my own pace and purpose. They just make it happen. Some find this style aggressive. I call it decisive and I like it because it gets the job done. I cannot blend in with any asshole drivers from any state. I have tried and it is not fun being an asshole behind the wheel. But if I don’t drive like them, I am labeled the asshole. It takes one to know one.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    Nowhere do I see Pensacola, Florida mentioned. The drivers are so bad that even the police blow through red lights (school buses too). Lots of school bus accidents from drivers rear-ending them. Even stationary buildings aren’t safe. Seriously, google this stuff, I’m not making it up.

    Another very common occurrence is you’ll be driving along and some yokel will be up ahead will be at a stop sign (or driveway), look right at you, wait a couple seconds until you get closer, slowwwwly pull out in your way, slowwwwly accelerate to a speed much less than the posted limit, and then take the next turn half a mile down the road.

    Lots of unlicensed, suspended license, and revoked license people driving around.

    If you can remain accident free then I think you deserve an honorary PhD in defensive driving.

  • avatar
    canddmeyer

    Come to Vegas. Not the worst but definitely the most ignorant. The worst I’ve seen are transplanted New Yorkers in Florida. Sacramento is a close second.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Massachusetts was the first state to adopt no-fault auto insurance in 1970. 25 other states later adopted it. No-fault was supposed to reduce auto insurance rates, but instead the states that deployed it saw insurance costs increase 50% over conventional tort states. The least silly of the no-fault states abandoned it starting in the ’80s and immediately saw their insurance costs drop. Massachusetts stayed the course, and has continued to see its drivers devolve into the wheeled equivalent of organized government employees.

    • 0 avatar
      dtremit

      Massachusetts insurance is only no-fault for medical bills totaling less than $2,000. And Massachusetts insurance costs are actually fairly low — 34 other states have more expensive average insurance bills. (California is among the highest.)

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @CJinSD

      No-fault insurance in Massachusetts has very little to do with our insurance rates. It’s related to the roads and other factors. In fact, I moved from a small city in New Hampshire to a low population semi-rural upscale suburb of Boston and saw a substantial rate drop. Furthermore, Massachusetts is not a pure no-fault state.

      No-fault only applies to bodily injury. Everything else is assigned fault along with surcharges applied to your insurance.

      So could you explain exactly what you mean by “wheeled equivalent of organized government employees”? Drivers with accident records do pay through the nose for insurance. It sounds as though you’re implying that they don’t. Maybe you could back up that statement with some rate examples?

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Again, MCS,
        You are trying to use logic and fact with a someone whose politics colors every post. CJinSD usually spends his time attacking the CA state government, where he at least has some local knowledge.


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