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States with the worst drivers: Florida, Mississippi top list

A new study ranks the worst drivers by state according to accident statistics, drunken driving, traffic tickets, insurance data and other factors.
/ Source: TODAY

How many times have you been cut off or nearly sideswiped by a driver with an out-of-state license plate and said something like, “No wonder that guy can’t drive — he’s from such-and-such state?”

I do it all the time in part because it makes me feel better about my own driving, no matter how deficient it might be. Massachusetts drivers are terrible, and so are the lawless masses from Pennsylvania. And oh, don’t get me started on those Ohioans.

Worst drivers in the U.S. according to SmartAsset
Which state has the worst drivers?Shutterstock

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Well, it turns out my home state of New Jersey produces some of the nation’s worst drivers according to a new report. A study from SmartAsset, a personal finance technology company, delves into accident statistics, drunken driving, traffic tickets, insurance data and other factors to determine which of our assumptions about certain interstate drivers are true and which are off the mark.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 32,675 motor vehicle deaths in the U.S. in 2014. The figure rose to an estimated 35,200 in 2015. To come up with state-by-state results, SmartAsset also looked at the percentage of people with auto insurance based on Insurance Research Council data, drunken-driving arrests per 1,000 drivers using statistics from the Federal Highway Administration and state justice departments, and deaths per 1,000 drivers from NHTSA.

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The study also scored states based on Google searches for terms including “speeding ticket” and “traffic tickets.” Below is a chart showing the states rated as having the worst drivers.