An insurance website has ranked Montana as having the worst drivers in the country.
The website www.carinsurancecomparison.com recently released an annual review that places Montana in first place in 2017 for the third time in four years.
Montana also garnered the top spot in 2014 and 2015.
The review used data in five categories - fatality rate, failure to obey, drunk driving, speeding and careless driving - gleaned from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Here's how Montana landed at the top, according to the website:
Best Ranking: Careless Driving – 29th
Worst Ranking: Failure to Obey – 1st
Montana, not only finds itself on our Worst Driver list every single year, but it has been awarded first for having the worst drivers in the entire U.S. in 2014, 2015, and now again in 2017!
In addition to the huge jump from 10th to first since last year, Montana drivers are looking pretty bad in all five categories:
Failure to Obey (1st place) – Forty-one deadly collisions involved someone driving with an invalid license, 59 fatal crashes involved drivers ignoring traffic signals, and 114 people were killed in crashes due to neglecting to wear a seatbelt.
Fatality Rate (2nd place) – There were a total of 224 traffic deaths in Montana in 2015 alone, 32 more than the previous year, putting Montana at a rate of 1.81 fatalities for every 100 million vehicle miles traveled.
Director Mike Tooley of Montana Department of Transportation (DPT) said,
“Montana has taken an aggressive approach to deal with our number one contributor to an eventual fatality, and that is one vehicle roadway departure incidents. We have installed thousands of miles of centerline and shoulder rumble strips in areas that have a high concentration of those types of incidents. It is beginning to pay dividends.”
He also mentioned,
“[W]e are a large state geographically with just over 1 million people living here. The end result is vast areas of little to no population and a corresponding lack of availability of critical care. In fact, the nearest level 1 trauma center for most of our population is in Seattle. So serious crashes that might be survivable in other states often wind up being fatal in Montana.”
Drunk Driving (4th place) – Over 41 percent of Montana’s deadly collisions involved a driver impaired by alcohol.
Speeding (6th place) – Ninety-one fatalities on the road in this state were caused by motorists driving at speeds that were soon proven to be deadly.
Careless Driving (29th place) – The one decent ranking for this state involved a total of 15 pedestrians and pedalcyclists being struck and killed by a moving vehicle. Hardly something to celebrate.
Right in line with its “Cowboy Country” reputation, Montana didn’t have set daytime speed limits on major highways until 1999, and it was legal (yes legal) to drink and drive until 2005!
In 2011, Representative Alan Hale, a member of the Montana Legislature, defended drunk driving. He said the new DUI laws were hurting taverns and bars and calls driving drunk in Montana “a way of life.” See the video below.
The drivers in The Treasure State need to realize all they treasure in this world can vanish by one bad decision behind the wheel. Director Tooley highlighted this very fact when we asked him “What one thing could Montana drivers do to positively affect road safety?” He said, “To not take the act of driving for granted.”
Click here to read the entire review.