We’ve all seen them: the two-spot parker at the grocery store, the slow driver inching along in the fast lane, the multi-tasker sipping coffee while texting at a light that turned green long ago. And while every city may think that they have the worst drivers, our annual report identified which U.S. cities really do.
Our analysts at QuoteWizard set out every year to see which cities have the worst drivers in America and which have the best. We analyzed two million car insurance quotes from drivers in America’s 70 largest cities. Cities were then evaluated on four factors to determine overall driver quality. Those factors include:
- Speeding tickets
- Citations (running a red light, using a cellphone while driving, etc.)
Cities with the most dangerous driving incidents are rated among the worst, while cities with the fewest dangerous driving incidents are rated as the best.
Cities with the worst drivers
|Overall rank||City||Accident rank||DUI rank||Speeding rank||Citation rank|
|8||Salt Lake City, UT||5||10||25||19|
|11||Virginia Beach, VA||21||11||26||20|
|14||San Diego, CA||6||19||32||27|
|18||Las Vegas, NV||23||24||12||32|
|21||Colorado Springs, CO||36||13||27||21|
|28||Kansas City, KS/MO||45||34||7||42|
|33||San Francisco Bay Area, CA||62||63||6||8|
After a three-year absence, Omaha has regained the top spot on our list. Omaha had more DUIs than any other city and ranked in the top 15 in every dangerous driving category. The move back to the top of the worst drivers list is a big one for Omaha. The city ranked 15th in our 2019 rankings, was number one on our worst drivers in 2018 and took the eighth-worst spot in 2017.
Omaha may have taken the top spot for having the worst drivers, but drivers in Riverside were not far behind. Drivers in this California city also seem to have suddenly headed in the wrong direction: Riverside ranked third in 2017 and second in 2018 before moving up to 25th in 2019. Slowing down and following the rules of the road are Riverside’s largest problems; the city ranked seventh in speeding and third in citations.
Drivers in this city have been near the top of our worst drivers list every year. The city ranked third highest in the nation for the number of DUIs and was in the top 20 for the number of accidents, DUIs and citations. Bakersfield was ranked the 13th worst city in 2019.
Columbus is no stranger to fourth place: The Ohio city also came fourth in 2019 and in 2018. What’s it like to drive in Columbus? The city ranked fourth-worst in DUIs, ninth-worst in accidents and got enough citations to take the 13th worst spot.
Are you starting to notice a pattern? Just like cities one through four, Richmond has a high number of DUIs. Richmond ranks number two for DUIs but is no slouch when it comes to speeding or citations, either. Richmond ranked 17th worst in speeding and 11th worst in citations. Virginia city ranked 10th worst in 2019.
Cities with the best drivers
|Overall rank||City||Accident rank||DUI rank||Speeding rank||Citation rank|
|2||St. Louis, MO||56||64||69||69|
|3||Little Rock, AR||61||60||67||66|
|4||New Orleans, LA||55||59||66||65|
|9||Baton Rouge, LA||41||55||63||61|
|10||Grand Rapids, MI||64||47||55||53|
|28||Oklahoma City, OK||46||28||39||36|
|29||New York, NY||54||25||36||33|
|33||San Antonio, TX||66||70||5||2|
|35||Los Angeles, CA||67||66||4||4|
Drivers in this Alabama city like to take it easy. Birmingham had fewer speeding tickets and driving citations than any other city. That safe-driving culture is also why the city ranks low in their numbers of DUIs and accidents. After all, when you’re in Birmingham, you take it slow and appreciate the magic of the “Magic City.” Birmingham also made one of the biggest jumps on this list: The city was ranked 29th best in our 2019 rankings.
Meet me in St. Louis for some good driving. This Missouri city was so close to taking the number-one spot. Only one point separates St. Louis from Birmingham when it comes to the number of speeding tickets, driving citations and DUIs. The only ranking St. Louis is really behind Birmingham is in its lead foot: St. Louis had significantly more speeding tickets than Birmingham.
Little Rock drivers are good and getting better. Drivers in this Arkansas city ranked sixth best in 2019 and seventh-best in 2018 and 2017. The city ranks as one of the 10 best in every category and almost took the bronze medal when it comes to their number of speeding and citations. The city has also recently enacted some new driving policies. Little Rock started designing streets to better accommodate pedestrians, and the city has launched a Friendly Driver Certification Program.
Bourbon Street may be famous, but New Orleans actually has a comparatively low number of DUIs. The Big Easy also likes to take it easy on the road: New Orleans ranked in the top five for the lowest numbers of speeding tickets and citations and in the top 15 for the fewest accidents and DUIs.
Memphis is famous for the blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll but it’s the city’s drivers that are music to our ears. This Tennessee city didn’t make our good drivers list last year, so moving all the way up to number five is impressive. Memphis ranks as one of the 10 best in both speeding and citations and in the top 15 for the lowest numbers of accidents and DUIs.
The best and worst cities by category
While each city’s overall rank was a combination of four different factors, some cities scored particularly high or low in different categories. Watch the video below to see which cities had the highest (worst) and lowest (best) number of speeding tickets, accidents, DUIs and driving citations.
Take it slow or go, go, go; we noticed a pattern when it comes to getting speeding tickets. The cities with the most speeders are all major metros with lots of traffic. The cities with the lowest numbers of speeders, however, are relatively smaller cities in the South and Midwest.
If you get a lot of speeding tickets, it makes sense that you also got a lot of citations. Philadelphia, San Antonio, Seattle and Los Angeles all ranked in the top five for the highest numbers of speeding tickets and citations. Birmingham, St. Louis and Little Rock also repeated their performances, ranking in the top five for the lowest numbers of speeding tickets and citations.
They speed but they don’t crash. Look up above at the top five cities with the highest numbers of speeding tickets and you’ll see that they fall in the exact same order as cities with the fewest accidents. Florida, meanwhile, is a different story. This is the first time two cities from the same state rank in the top five. Miami and Tampa were third and fourth for the highest numbers of accidents.
The cities with the highest numbers of DUIs also had some of the worst drivers overall. Omaha, Riverside, Bakersfield and Columbus all rank in the top five for most DUIs and worst drivers. San Antonio, Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia had the fewest DUIs and probably would have ranked a lot higher on our best drivers list if not for all their speeding tickets and citations.
When pouring over the data for these 70 cities, our analysts noticed a pattern. Each of the five worst driving cities also had high numbers of DUIs, while cities that ranked as the five best all had low numbers of speeding tickets and citations. Slowing down, staying sober and being safe is incredibly important while driving. It’s the best way to make sure that you and the people you’re sharing the road with get home safely.
The QuoteWizard research team evaluated driver quality from the 70 largest cities in America. We analyzed 2020 data from millions of insurance quotes from drivers in the 70 cities using QuoteWizard.com. We used a composite ranking system to rank each city for their rate of incidents. Incidents include accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs and citations. Cities considered the worst drivers had the highest rates of incidents among drivers.