Texas, known as the Lone Star State, is the second most populous state in America. With nearly eight and a half million vehicles registered in Texas, it's also the state with the second most cars. Millions of citizens and millions of vehicles means roads in Texas are packed with drivers.
According to our earlier research, Texas residents rank as the 20th best drivers in America. But how do Texans rank when compared to one another? Curious to see where your city stacks up compared to the rest of Texas? Take a look at our key findings, methodology, and rankings below.
- Texas drivers are overall better than the national average
- Amarillo's drivers are the best in the state
- Austin gets more DUIs than the rest of Texas
- Dallas residents are worse drivers than Houston – but just barely
- Odessa and Round Rock drivers like to speed
- Pearland and Irving drivers are involved in considerably more accidents than any other city
- Texas Tech University has the best drivers out of Texas' major college football programs
- West Texas drivers ranked better than any other region
We sampled incident data from the users of our website. To quantify overall driver standards for comparison, we weighted various incident counts for each city with its occurrence percentage. The final rankings are a sum of weighted means that is calculated from total accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs, and citations.
Our rankings are organized from worst to best, so the number one spot on our list goes to the worst driving city. Each ranking is determined by the methodology described above.
- Amarillo: It's the center of the Texas Panhandle, and it's home to one of the biggest steaks in America. It's also home to the best drivers in Texas, according to our data. That's right: Amarillo drivers are involved in less accidents, DUIs, speeding tickets, and citations than the rest of Texas. We tip our cowboy hat to you, Amarillo.
- Abilene: Abilene, the smaller and more rural southern cousin of Amarillo, scored very well in our rankings. Abilenians perform admirably in every category, especially speeding. With around 120,000 inhabitants in Abilene, it seems folks aren't in a big hurry to get around. Or perhaps they prefer air travel, as Abilene hosts an Air Force base with over 4,000 aircrafts, as well as an annual balloon fest.
- Lubbock: Home of Texas Tech University and the Red Raiders, Lubbock is also home to another distinction: they're some of the best drivers in Texas according to our data. They rank very well in speeding and DUIs, although they're involved in more DUIs and accidents than Abilene and Amarillo. Lubbock is located between Amarillo and Abilene, forming a trinity of safe drivers.
- Pearland: Bad news, Pearland. You rank first in accidents and second in DUI rates. That's a lousy mix – lousy enough to make Pearland the worst drivers in Texas on our list. Pearland drivers also rack up citations at a higher rate than all Texas cities besides Round Rock. It's not all doom and gloom, as Pearland drivers are in the middle of the pack for speeding citations. If you find yourself driving through Pearland, keep your wits about you.
- Irving: Known for the carefully-planned community of Las Colinas, Irving sits on the Northwestern border of Dallas. They're worse drivers than their neighbors in Dallas in every category, and they have the second highest accident rate in all of Texas, considerably higher than third place Plano. Irving's most famous attraction is the Mustangs of Las Colinas, the largest equine statue in the world. It seems Irving residents may be inspired by the high horse-power statue when they're behind the wheel.
- Plano: The title of third worst drivers in Texas belongs to another of Dallas' neighbors. Plano drivers racked up enough accidents and speeding citations to earn the bronze medal. A strong job market and impressively high median wage will hopefully help Plano residents forget about the city's poor driving record.
Dallas vs. Houston
H-Town vs. The Big D. Texans vs. Cowboys. Rockets vs. Mavericks. Houston Rodeo vs. Texas State Fair. Though only separated by 240 miles, the long-standing rivalries between Dallas and Houston are historic and intense. Dallasites accuse Houston of being the arm pit of Texas, while Houstonians assert that Dallas is nothing more than the gaudy and petulant little brother. But who wins the title of best (or worst) drivers?
Surprisingly, the two cities have more similarities than differences when it comes to driving. They're both in the middle of the pack – not too bad, but not too great. Dallas drivers rank as the 9th worst drivers overall, while Houston drivers are the 9th worst. The resemblance is evident with nearly-identical rankings in accidents, citations, and DUIs. Dallas drivers are more lead-footed than Houston, as their 1.67 percent speeding ticket rate loses to Houston's 1.36 percent rate.
People in Dallas and Houston can argue about plenty, but there's not much to disagree about when it comes to which city has better drivers.
Best and Worst College Campus Drivers
Texas is football country. Friday night at a Texas high school stadium is unlike anywhere else in the country. Cowboys stadium is perhaps the most grandiose stadium in North America. With 12 D1 college football programs in Texas, more than any other state, the collegiate rivalry runs deep.
Good news, football fans; now you can argue about more than just which team is better on the field. Four cities with notable colleges are among our 20 worst driving cities:
- Austin (University of Texas)
- Waco (Baylor)
- Fort Worth (Texas Christian University)
- Lubbock (Texas Tech University)
Texas Tech and TCU are Surprisingly Good Drivers
The Red Raiders and the Horned Frogs hold the distinction of being the best drivers among college cities in Texas, as Lubbock and Forth Worth hold the 18th and 17th spots on our ranking. Lubbock drivers speed more than their Fort Worth counterparts, but Forth Worthians rack up speeding tickets at almost twice the rate of Lubbockians. Both Texas Tech's Red Raiders and TCU's Horned Frogs do a great job of avoiding DUIs – they rank last and second to last in DUI rates, respectively. It seems this rivalry extends beyond the football field and onto the roads.
Baylor and the University of Texas Drink and Drive Too Much
Baylor University's Bears, located in Waco, are statistically worse drivers than Fort Worth and Lubbock. Their accidents, speeding, and citations rates are strong enough to make them the seventh best drivers in Texas. But they're also the seventh worst city in the state for DUIs. If Waco and the Baylor Bears want to improve their position on our rankings, they'll have to sober up before driving.
Austin, home of the University of Texas, similarly does not do well in the DUI department. In fact, they're the worst city in Texas for DUI rates, barely edging out Pearland for the dubious honor. The University of Texas' Longhorns rank decently in speeding, accidents, and citations, but their DUI rates hurt them enough to make Austin the fifth worst drivers in Texas. According to our stats, Austin drivers get DUI's at a shocking four times the rate of Lubbock and Fort Worth combined. Are we seeing the aftermath of Austin's effective ban of Uber and Lyft?
Odessa and Round Rock Drivers are in a Hurry
Both Odessa and Round Rock receive speeding tickets at a higher frequency than the rest of Texas. In fact, it's not even close. Odessa and Round Rock's respective 2.51 percent and 2.46 speeding ticket rates dwarves the rest of Texas. Only Plano comes close with a 2.18 percent speeding ticket rate.
Perhaps Odessa and Round Rock have extra vigilant highway patrol, or perhaps their geographic placement along major freeways lends well to speeding. Interstate 20 runs through Odessa, while Interstate 35 carves through the heart of Round Rock. Both interstates connect several cities. Blaming the Odessa and Round Rock's high speeding ticket rates on impatient drivers is tempting, but the presence of major highways likely plays a role as well.
West Texas Drivers are Better Than East, North, and Central Texas Drivers
What do El Paso, Lubbock, Abilene, and Amarillo have in common? They're cities in the western side of Texas, and they're some of the best drivers in the state according to our rankings. That's enough to make West Texas the best driving region in the state.
Central Texas includes poorly performing cities like Austin, Round Rock, and Killeen. North Texas, similarly, is hurt by drivers from Arlington, Plano, and Irving, although cities like Dallas, Fort Worth, and Frisco received decent rankings.
How Bad Driving Affects Your Car Insurance Rates
Whether you live in one of the states with the best drivers or one of the states with tons of drivers the worst drivers, you need a strong auto insurance policy. This is especially true if you drive in Pearland, Irving, Plano, Round Rock, Austin, or one of the other cities on our list. Even if you're a great driver, living in an area with bad drivers makes your insurance premium more expensive. Why? If you're surrounded by bad drivers, you're more likely to get into an accident. Insurance companies use your zip code to determine the risk-likelihood in providing coverage for you.
What can you do to combat this? A lot of things, from bundling insurance plans to shopping around and compare car insurance in Texas from different companies.
And if you're one of those bad drivers? You may need to buy car insurance for bad drivers - high risk auto insurance. It's expensive, but at least can keep driving.