Like it or not, there’s (sometimes) a friendly rivalry between Texas and California. Our most populous states are often compared on cost of living, quality of life, economic supremacy and politics, to name a few. But these giants of American culture have a few things in common, including independent-minded residents with a reputation for driving like they own the road.
So which drivers are actually worse?
A study released this month by Forbes Advisor leaves little doubt, ranking Texans as the worst drivers in the nation. Their research team used six metrics, including per-person drunken-driving deaths, distracted- and drowsy-driving deaths, wrong-way fatal accidents, and fatal crashes while failing to obey traffic signals. The final factor was phone use per mile behind the wheel.
“Texas ranks second worst in the nation for two of the metrics we considered: fatal car accidents involving a drowsy driver (1.35 accidents per 100,000 licensed drivers) and fatal car accidents involving a driver who was driving the wrong way on a one-way street or on the wrong side of the road (1.53 accidents per 100,000 licensed drivers),” the study’s authors wrote.
Texas drivers also scored poorly on deadly drunken-driving crashes per person and distracted driving deaths. Louisiana, Kansas, Oklahoma and Kentucky were also ranked among the nation’s least safe drivers.
California, on the other hand, ranked 42nd most dangerous, with fewer than half of the deadly DUI and distracted-driver deaths per 100,000 licensed drivers.
Before Californians get too smug about these results, there are plenty of other methodologies for determining the best drivers, and many are not as kind to Golden State commuters.
For instance, a study late last year from QuoteWizard ranked Californians as the second worst drivers, behind Utah. That survey weighed California as among the nation’s worst for DUI arrests and accident rates. Texas was squarely in the middle of the pack on that ranking.
A SmartAsset study from last summer ranked California drivers among the most irresponsible, again citing the high DUI rate as well as the percentage of uninsured drivers on California roads. Texas didn’t crack the top 10.
The Forbes study’s focus on fatalities must be concerning for Texans, but the numbers aren’t all good news for Californians either. Residents of California and Texas are notoriously proud of where they come from, but they can’t feel good seeing their states ranked high for crashes and DUIs.