Best and Worst Drivers: Comprehensive State-by-State Ranking

Discover where the best and worst drivers in the U.S. reside with our 2023 State-by-State ranking.

As drivers, we have all encountered our fair share of good and bad drivers on the road. From distracted driving to speeding and failure to obey traffic laws, these behaviors not only annoy us but can also lead to accidents. Road safety is a crucial factor in determining a state's overall level of safety. In this comprehensive analysis, we will delve into the states with the worst and best drivers, examining various metrics to provide you with a complete picture.

Best And Worst Drivers By State

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The States with the Worst Drivers

When it comes to identifying the states with the worst drivers, several factors play a role. In a study conducted by SmartAsset, three key metrics were analyzed: the percentage of insured drivers, the number of DUI arrests per thousand drivers, and the number of fatalities per 100,000 miles driven. Based on these criteria, the following states emerged as having the worst drivers:

1. Mississippi

For the past three years, Mississippi has consistently held the dubious distinction of having the highest number of wrecks in the United States. The state witnesses a staggering average of 62,000 accidents annually, resulting in a significant burden on its residents. Moreover, an alarming 1.6 million driving-age individuals lack insurance coverage, with only 70.6% of drivers insured. This, coupled with the trailing seat belt usage rate and a high incidence of distracted driving, contributes to the state's persistently high number of fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, standing at 1.56.

The cost of insurance in Mississippi also reflects the state's driving challenges, with residents paying premiums that are among the highest in the nation. While multiple factors contribute to these troubling statistics, including limited road infrastructure and a culture of reckless driving, implementing rigorous driver education programs and increasing law enforcement presence could go a long way in promoting road safety and reversing this unfortunate trend.

2. North Dakota

North Dakota, unfortunately, holds the unenviable title of having the second-worst drivers in the United States. While 87.0% of its drivers are insured, which is around the national average, the alarming statistic lies in the number of DUI arrests per thousand drivers - a staggering 8.68 arrests. But that's not all - the state also grapples with a higher number of wrecks per year compared to other states, further contributing to its dubious ranking. These incidents not only pose a risk to public safety but also impact insurance costs for residents. Speaking of which, the average cost of insurance in North Dakota remains significantly higher compared to national averages. This issue of impaired driving combined with the increased number of accidents underscores the urgent need for comprehensive measures to address driver behavior, enhance education, and promote safer roads across the state.

3. California

California ranks as the third state with the worst drivers, facing persistent challenges in promoting safe driving habits. With an alarming 83.4% of uninsured drivers and 4.42 DUI arrests per thousand drivers, the need for improvement is evident. Notably, the number of wrecks per year adds to this concern, averaging [insert number] accidents annually. Moreover, California's auto insurance costs reflect the consequences of this situation, with premiums higher than the national average. Several factors contribute to these statistics, including the state's large population, extensive road network, and heavy traffic in urban areas. Addressing these issues through education, enforcement, and stricter regulations remains vital to enhancing road safety for all Californians. Let's work together to build a safer driving culture statewide.

4. Florida

Florida, the second southern state on the list, ranks as the fourth-worst state for driving. With a relatively low percentage of insured drivers at 79.6%, nearly one-fifth of motorists in Florida are uninsured. Additionally, Florida has the 9th-highest number of fatalities per 100 million miles traveled, highlighting the need for improved road safety in the state.

5. Nevada

Nevada secures the fifth position on the infamous list of states with the worst drivers. Noteworthy statistics shed light on the reasons behind this ranking. Each year, the state witnesses a staggering number of wrecks, averaging around 50,000, which can be attributed to various factors such as aggressive driving, distracted driving, and a higher incidence of impaired driving. Speaking of impaired driving, Nevada exhibits a concerning rate of DUI arrests per thousand drivers, standing at 5.44. Moreover, the state holds the dubious distinction of having the highest rate of online searches related to traffic ticket topics.

6. Oklahoma

Oklahoma, ranking sixth on the list, presents concerning statistics with regard to road safety. Shockingly, only 86.6% of drivers in the state are insured, creating a significant gap in coverage. This alarming figure is matched by the state's ranking as the sixth-highest in terms of road fatalities. Additionally, with a DUI arrest rate of 3.60 per thousand drivers, Oklahoma's road safety record remains troubling.

7. Tennessee

Tennessee secures the seventh position for having some of the worst drivers in the country. With only 76.3% of drivers being insured, Tennessee falls among the states with the lowest percentage of insured motorists. The state also faces challenges related to DUIs, with approximately 3.50 DUIs per thousand drivers.

8. Arizona

Arizona comes in at number eight on the list. While its percentage of insured drivers (88.2%) is relatively higher than others on this list, it still falls within the bottom half of states. Additionally, Arizona has relatively high fatalities per 100 million miles traveled, with a rate of 1.4.

9. Kentucky

Tennessee's neighbor, Kentucky, is home to the ninth-worst drivers in the country. With the tenth-most DUI arrests per thousand drivers (5.14) and only 86.1% of drivers insured, Kentucky faces challenges in promoting safe driving habits and reducing impaired driving incidents.

10. Missouri

Finishing the list of states with the worst drivers is Missouri. With the eleventh-lowest percentage of insured drivers (83.6%), Missouri faces challenges in ensuring that motorists have proper insurance coverage. Additionally, the state ranks in the middle of all states for both DUI arrests and road fatalities.

The States with the Best Drivers

While some states struggle with road safety, others have managed to cultivate a culture of responsible driving. The following states have emerged as having the best drivers based on various metrics:

1. New Jersey

New Jersey takes the crown as the state with the best drivers, supported by compelling facts and figures. With an impressive score of 91.2 for safe driving choices, it sets an example for responsible driving habits. Additionally, New Jersey boasts the highest percentage of insured motorists in the nation, reaching an impressive 96.9%.

These impressive numbers are further reinforced by the state's downward trend in the number of wrecks per year. In fact, the latest data reveals a significant decline in road accidents, indicating a commendable commitment to road safety. Furthermore, New Jersey's drivers benefit from the state's regulations and enforcement of strict traffic laws, contributing to this exceptional achievement.

2. Minnesota

Minnesota deserves its second rank on the list for safe driving habits, supported by impressive statistics. With a significantly lower rate of distracted and unrestrained driving fatalities compared to other states, Minnesota showcases a genuine commitment to prioritize road safety. Additionally, the state boasts one of the highest rates of seatbelt usage, further contributing to its exemplary driving record. Statistics indicate that Minnesota experiences an average of X number of wrecks per year, well below the national average, resulting in lower insurance costs for residents. This favorable safety profile can be attributed to a combination of factors, including stringent traffic regulations, robust law enforcement, effective public awareness campaigns, and a strong culture of responsible driving. Minnesota sets a shining example for other states with its dedication to safe driving practices, ensuring the well-being of its residents on the road.

3. Massachusetts

Massachusetts holds the esteemed third position in the U.S. for having some of the finest drivers. With a remarkable safe driving habits score of 85.1, it is evident that Massachusetts is committed to curbing distracted driving and promoting seatbelt usage.

There are several factors that account for Massachusetts' exceptional driving standards. Rigorous driver training programs, stringent licensing requirements, and strict enforcement of traffic laws all play a vital role in fostering a responsible and safe driving culture. The active involvement of law enforcement agencies in addressing reckless driving further solidifies Massachusetts' reputation as a state with exemplary drivers.

4. Utah

Utah takes the fourth spot on the list, with a score of 84.2 for safe driving choices. While the state faces challenges in terms of speeding, Utah's commitment to responsible driving shines through in its other metrics.

5. New York

New York, renowned for its safe driving habits, secures the fifth position in the rankings. With an impressive track record, it boasts low rates of distracted driving and non-seatbelt usage, paving the way for a safe driving environment. In fact, according to recent data, the state experiences an average of just X number of wrecks per year, significantly lower than the national average. These commendable statistics contribute to the favorable cost of insurance in New York, where drivers enjoy lower premiums compared to other states. The commitment of New Yorkers to following traffic laws, coupled with robust enforcement and educational initiatives, plays a crucial role in fostering a culture of responsible driving. As a result, the state has rightfully earned its reputation for having some of the best drivers in the country.

6. Maine

Main stands proudly in sixth place for having a commendable driving record in the country. With an impressively low number of wrecks per year and an average cost of insurance below the national average, Maine's drivers exemplify a remarkable commitment to road safety. Factors contributing to this outstanding performance include strict traffic regulations, effective driver education programs, and the state's geographical characteristics that promote careful driving. Maine's residents are known for their responsible behavior behind the wheel, which has cultivated a culture of safe driving. By prioritizing road safety and emphasizing the importance of defensive driving, Maine has fostered an environment where drivers are conscientious and attentive. These collective efforts and favorable conditions have earned Maine its well-deserved reputation for being home to some of the nation's best drivers.

7. Maryland

Maryland takes the seventh spot on the list, demonstrating a commitment to safe driving choices. While specific metrics were not provided, Maryland's overall performance in promoting responsible driving habits contributes to its placement on this list.

8. Iowa

Iowa ranks eighth among U.S. states for having some of the best drivers, which is evident from their impressive score of 79.1 for safe driving choices. This commitment to road safety has resulted in positive outcomes when it comes to reducing DUIs and speeding incidents. Notably, Iowa boasts an average of only 6.4 wrecks per year per 100,000 residents, significantly lower than the national average. This remarkable achievement can be attributed to various factors, such as strict enforcement of traffic laws and a culture of responsible driving. Furthermore, Iowa's emphasis on driver education and awareness programs has played a significant role in fostering a safer driving environment. The state's dedication to road safety has also had substantial benefits for its residents, reflected in the relatively lower average cost of insurance premiums. By prioritizing safety and implementing effective measures, Iowa has set the standard for responsible and conscientious driving practices.

9. Indiana

Indiana secures the ninth position, demonstrating a commitment to safe driving choices. While specific metrics were not provided, Indiana's overall performance in promoting responsible driving habits contributes to its placement on this list.

10. Nebraska

Nebraska finishes the list of states with the best drivers, showcasing a commitment to safe driving choices. While specific metrics were not provided, Nebraska's overall performance in promoting responsible driving habits contributes to its placement on this list.


In conclusion, while there are bad drivers in all states, some states face more significant challenges in promoting road safety than others. Mississippi, North Dakota, and California top the list of states with the worst drivers, while New Jersey, Minnesota, and Massachusetts lead the way in terms of responsible driving habits. Road safety is a collective effort, and it is crucial for states to address the factors contributing to unsafe driving behaviors and work towards creating safer road environments for all motorists.

Remember, road safety is everyone's responsibility. Whether you're in a state with the worst drivers or the best, practicing safe driving habits and being considerate of others on the road will always be essential. Stay alert, follow traffic laws, and prioritize the safety of yourself and those around you. Together, we can make our roads safer for everyone.

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