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Study: Birmingham makes top ten for worst drivers

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A new survey by the household moving company “Better Move” ranks Birmingham for the ninth worst city for driving. The group’s website says…

“More than 1 in 5 survey respondents (22%) think Birmingham has some of the best drivers in the country, but the facts tell a different story. Birmingham has 91% more traffic-related deaths each year (12.7 per 100,000 residents) than the average city in our study (6.6). With little public transportation, everyone in Birmingham drives, and motorists have too much Southern politeness to shame reckless drivers by honking their horns and avoiding collisions. Drivers involved in a collision may be on the hook for repairs. About 20% of Birmingham drivers are uninsured, despite having some of the most affordable car insurance premiums ($1,648) in the U.S.”

Studies show that 80% of drivers think they're better than average- a statistical improbability that means some motorists must be subpar, even if they won't admit it.

You're not alone if you've ever asked, "Why is everyone on the road a terrible driver?" Motorists everywhere are poor drivers, whether it's because of road rage, general incompetence, or a lack of awareness.

The problem lies mostly with perception.

"When someone cuts us off, we think they act that way all the time, so we call them bad drivers," licensed psychologist Yishai Barkhordari explains. "When we do the same thing, we've got an explanation for why. We don't attach that to how we see ourselves as drivers."

Indeed, statistics reveal some cities are notorious for their dangerous drivers. A new survey conducted by Clever Move analyzes data from the 50 most-populous metropolitan areas to determine which cities have the worst drivers in 2023.

The top 10 cities with the worst drivers include:

1. Jacksonville, Florida

2. Louisville, Kentucky

3. Orlando, Florida

4. Tampa, Florida

5. Nashville, Tennessee

6. Memphis, Tennessee

7. Riverside, California

8. New Orleans, Louisiana

9. Birmingham, Alabama

10. Sacramento, California

Surprisingly, large metro areas, such as Los Angeles, Boston, and New York, steered clear of the top 10. All three of those cities actually have some of the safest drivers in the country, with New York City earning the top spot.

The best drivers tend to live in major metro areas along the East and West coasts, where public transportation and ride-sharing options are prevalent. On the other hand, the worst drivers generally live in the South and Midwest.

The cities with the worst drivers scored poorly on eight key metrics, including average annual traffic fatalities, average annual alcohol-related driving deaths, and average annual insurance premiums.

Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville may be the second-best place to live in Florida, according to Forbes, but the same can't be said about the city's drivers. They are the worst in the country.

Jacksonville drivers are responsible for the highest number of alcohol-related driving deaths, with 2.9 per 100,000 residents annually. They also experience 65% more traffic-related fatalities than the other 50 cities studied.

Blame it on Jacksonville's complex highway system or the fact that Interstate 95, one of the deadliest interstates in the country, runs through the metro area.

Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville is the epicenter of the bourbon industry. That may be why the city has the third-highest number of drunk-driving deaths per year - 2.5 fatalities per 100,000 residents.

Louisville drivers share the road with an increasing number of semis as trucking and shipping become a significant part of the city's economy. With more large trucks on the roads, collisions often result in deadlier crashes. Louisville has 10.2 driving fatalities per 100,000 residents, which is 53% more than the studied city average of 6.6.

Orlando, Florida

During the summer, Orlando attracts a horde of tourists who are unfamiliar with the roads. Distracted tourists are one of the reasons the city experiences 21% more hard-braking events than the national average, according to Allstate's best drivers report.

Orlando also experiences 130 days of precipitation each year, making driving conditions more dangerous. With 9.1 annual driving fatalities per 100,000 residents, Orlando records 38% more traffic-related deaths than the average city.

Tampa, Florida

Tampa is one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the country. As traffic congestion increases, local drivers experience ten traffic-related fatalities per 100,000 residents annually. That's 51% more than the studied city average of 6.6.

High-risk groups, such as young, inexperienced drivers and older retirees, contribute to some of the highest insurance premiums in the U.S. Each year, Tampa motorists pay $3,459 to insure their vehicles, which is the fifth-highest amount among all 50 cities studied. With such expensive costs, it's not surprising that 1 in 5 Tampa drivers are uninsured.

Nashville, Tennessee

With a growing population of residents moving from all across the country and flocks of tourists arriving daily, traffic congestion has been a sour note for residents who have seen an increase in distracted-driving collisions and fatalities. Nashville has the seventh-highest number of yearly driving deaths at 9.4 per 100,000 residents, which is 42% more than the average city.

On a positive note, Tennessee passed the 'Hands Free' Tennessee law in 2019, which aims to curtail distracted-driving accidents, making it illegal to hold a cell phone, text, or watch videos behind the wheel.

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