by Haddon Libby

As the satirist Dave Barry said, “deep down inside, we all believe that we are above average drivers.”
Looking globally, the United States ranks behind only China and India in traffic deaths with Russia having a comparable record to us. Looking at this statistic per 100,000 citizens Iran has the worst record with 34.1 deaths followed by Brazil (22.5), China (20.5), India (18.9) and Russia (18.6). The countries with the fewest fatalities are the United Kingdom (3.4), Germany (4.7), Japan (5.2), Australia (6.1) and France (6.4). The United States has 11.4 deaths per 100,000 with Canada to the north at 6.8 and Mexico to the south at 14.7.
According to the AAA, our relatively bad driving records here in the United States cost all Americans $1,500 each annually or $300 BILLION. Men are responsible for 70% of all accidents and 74% of all costs.
Montana has the most traffic fatalities in the United States as ranked by vehicle miles with Louisiana and Mississippi tied for second. The fewest deaths are in Massachusetts with New Hampshire and Minnesota second. California ranks as the 20th safest.
In Tennessee, more that 10% of all fatal traffic accidents are due to distracted drivers using their cell phones for calls or texts with New Jersey and Massachusetts ranking second and third.
According to Allstate, the safest driving city with at least one million people is Phoenix where drivers are in accidents once every 10.2 years. Los Angeleno’s have accidents once every 6.1 years and San Diegans once every 8.8 years.
Washington DC drivers are 112% more likely to have accidents than the national average followed by Baltimore (88%) and Providence (81%). In California, drivers in Glendale (78%), San Francisco (55%), Los Angeles (49%) and Torrance (37%) are more likely to have accidents.
According to GMAC Insurance, drivers who are the most knowledgeable on driving rules are in Kansas, Iowa, Colorado, Minnesota and Oregon. The least knowledgeable drivers are in Washington DC, the seat of power in the United States. Other low driving IQ motorists are DC suburb state Maryland, Mississippi, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Hawaii. California ranks 16th worst. Thinking about Washington DC’s low driving IQ for a moment – if they don’t know how to drive a car, is it an wonder that they have trouble steering our country and economy?! Maybe we should move the nation’s capital to Sioux City, South Dakota or Boise, Idaho, America’s best cities for driving.
One of the leading causes for driving accidents is related to drinking and driving. According to the Center for Disease Control, 80% of all drunk drivers are men. Men from 18-20 years old are the most likely to drink and drive followed closely by men over 55. Among women, 21-24 year olds were the most likely to drink and drive although at one-third of the rate of their male counterparts. Here in California, Palm Springs consistently ranks as the city with the most DUIs for its population with most DUIs being comprised of locals, not tourists.
To be an above average driver, you only need to follow a few simple rules of the road: don’t drive angry, upset, drunk, on drugs or tired; don’t speed, weave through traffic or tailgate; stay off of the phone and never text. Also remember to use your turn signals, your seat belt and use the proper lane while never running red lights.
In closing, George Carlin once observed that “anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster…is a maniac.” Keep that in mind next time you get mad at the idiot or maniac you see on the road.