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The Worst Drivers in America, by State and City

The worst drivers in America - featured. Close up of driver's hands as they raise a first and honk their car horn angrily

We find out: where do the worst drivers in America live – and is your state or city on the list?

With fatal car accidents on the rise, you need to know where to watch out for the worst drivers in America. A recent study by Forbes Advisor ranked the worst drivers by state, as well as the most dangerous cities to drive in.

With just under 40,000 fatal car crashes occurring annually on US roads, and over 1.5 million crashes resulting in injuries, it pays to have this information at your fingertips. In this guide we’ll look at the facts and figures about the worst drivers across the US.

AT A GLANCE: Who are the worst drivers in America?

  • The state with the worst drivers in America is Texas, followed by Louisiana.
  • The city with the worst drivers in America is Albuquerque (New Mexico), followed by Memphis (Tennessee).
  • Ram and Tesla drivers are listed as the worst drivers in America.

What makes a bad driver?

There are several factors that make someone a “bad” driver. As a rule, they include anything that makes you unsafe on the road – although some behaviors, naturally, are more dangerous than others.

Examples of bad driving behaviors include:

  • Drunk driving
  • Driving drowsy, or falling asleep at the wheel
  • Looking at phones
  • Driving the wrong way
  • Failing to obey traffic signs and signals
  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Dangerous overtaking
  • Failing to use turn signals
  • Last-minute braking
  • Aggressive driving
  • Erratic driving
  • Distracted driving

Who are the worst drivers in America?

According to Forbes Advisor, five of the top ten states with the worst drivers are in the South. Texas tops the list for bad driving, with Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kentucky and South Carolina all close behind.

Meanwhile, Montana has the dubious honor of being home to the most drunk drivers involved in fatal car accidents (19.01 per 100,000 licensed drivers), while New Mexico has the highest number of fatal car accidents involving a distracted driver (9.54 accidents per 100,000 licensed drivers).

Drilling down to a smaller scale, the worst individual city for bad driving is Albuquerque, New Mexico. It also has the highest number of fatal car accidents involving a distracted driver (5.42 accidents per 100,000 licensed drivers).

The runner-up is Memphis, Tennessee, with the highest number of fatal car accidents involving a drunk driver (7.5 per 100,000 licensed drivers). Three of the top 15 cities with the worst drivers are located in Texas, home of the worst drivers by state – those being Dallas, Fort Worth and San Antonio.

The number of licensed drivers by state was provided by the Department of Transportation.

States with the worst drivers

According to Forbes Advisor, these are the top 10 states with the worst drivers (score out of 100):

Graphic describing the top ten US states with the worst drivers

StateScoreStateScore
1. Texas1006. New Mexico78.86
2. Louisiana89.327. Wyoming78.10
3. Kansas84.798. Arizona76.38
4. Oklahoma80.539. Montana71.68
5. Kentucky78.9610. South Carolina71.14

US Cities with the worst drivers

According to Forbes Advisor, the top 10 cities with the worst drivers (score out of 100) are:

CityScoreCityScore
1. Albuquerque (New Mexico)1006. Dallas (Texas)90.97
2. Memphis (Tennessee)98.517. Louisville (Kentucky) 83.88
3. Detroit (Michigan)94.978. Phoenix (Arizona) 80.65
4. Tucson (Arizona)93.029. Fort Worth (Texas)78.03
5. Kansas City (Missouri) 91.1910. Tampa (Florida)77.13

Car brands with the worst drivers

Interestingly, the data shows a correlation between the brand of car you drive and how likely you are to get into an accident.

At the top of the list are Ram drivers, with 33 driving incidents per 1,000 drivers. This may be because Rams are the cheapest pickup trucks on the market, and pickups are the most dangerous type of vehicle on the road. Being larger and heavier than regular passenger cars, they’re harder to control and drive, with an increased ability to hurt and kill. They’re also taller than other vehicles, which means the driver has worse all-round visibility. The Ram Pickup was the 3rd most sold car in 2023 in the US, with 444,926 units sold.

Ram trucks are closely followed by Tesla cars, with 31 incidents per 1,000 drivers. A possible explanation is that Tesla cars have recently undergone a large recall, with the suggestion that the driving-assistance software in the cars could actually increase the risk of collision.

Age and gender statistics

You might expect that teens who have just become legally eligible to drive would account for most accidents, but statistically the most dangerous age group is slightly older drivers between 25 and 34. Older seniors are also a concern: they may have slower reaction times and other cognitive or physical impairments affecting their ability to safely operate a car.

At all ages, men are far more likely to be involved in accidents than women. They’re also more likely in general to drink drive and drive over the speed limit. However, both sexes are equally guilty of aggressive driving behavior, with over 80% of motorists admitting to aggression on the roads.

Car accident statistics

As we’ve noted, there are a variety of car crash causes. Two of the biggest are drunk driving and speeding: a total of 35% of all fatal car accidents are down to drunk driving, while speeding accounts for 29% of fatal car accidents. Shockingly, in 47% of fatal crashes, drivers and passengers weren’t wearing seatbelts.

In the case of alcohol-impaired driving, most crashes (55%) take place between midnight and 2.59am. But while it may be more dangerous to drive late at night, did you know that roads are more deadly overall on certain days? Almost half of fatal car crashes occur around the weekend, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Holidays also increase the risk of accidents, with Independence Day being the deadliest.


To determine which states have the worst drivers, Forbes Advisor looked at six metrics. Five of them were based on figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, namely:

1. Number of drunk drivers involved in fatal car accidents

2. Number of fatal car accidents involving a distracted driver

3. Number of fatal car accidents involving a drowsy driver

4. Number of fatal car accidents involving a driver driving the wrong way

5. Number of fatal car accidents involving a driver who failed to obey traffic signs, traffic signals or a traffic officer

In each case the study calculated comparative scores based on three-year averages from 2018 to 2020, per 100,000 licensed drivers.

Forbes Advisor also used figures from data and analytics company Arity to factor in the average number of drivers who looked at a phone per mile, including texting, making or receiving calls, and any other phone-related activity.


To create the list of cities Forbes Advisor used five data sources from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality and Injury Reporting System Tool. Scores were based on a five-year average from 2017-2021, per 100,000 city residents:

1. Number of fatal car accidents

2. Number of fatal car accidents involving a drunk driver

3. Number of fatal car accidents involving a distracted driver

4. Number of fatal car accidents involving speeding

5. Number of people killed in fatal crashes

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