Allstate: You Really Suck at Driving, Seattle
Apparently, the message is that you had better be in good hands if you’re driving in Seattle, because you’re more likely to get into an accident. Out of a field of 200 U.S. cities, Seattle comes in 154th. Where the national average for car accidents is one every ten years, in Seattle, the average driver will collide–or be collided with–every 7.9 years. (Whereas an average Sioux Falls driver, in the top spot, will go almost 14 years between smashups.)
The Eighth Annual “Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report” is not supposed to be a shaming document. “We don’t want drivers in Seattle to be discouraged by their ranking. Instead, we want the report to challenge drivers in Seattle to make positive changes to their driving habits that will in turn make the city a safer place to live, work and raise families,” is the diplomatic framing of Shauna McBride, Allstate’s Regional Spokesperson.
But let’s go ahead and note right here that Tacoma is worse–in 156th place. Those people drive like maniacs. Around the Northwest, Spokane comes in 43rd, slightly bettering the national average, at 10.6 years between bent fenders. But Boise, Idaho, is the real star, coming in second, just a hair behind Sioux Falls. Boise! We throw up our hands.
As Allstate’s tips on safer driving boil down to “drive more safely,” they may be of limited use. One might reasonably assume that people who drive in a rush, distractedly, without a clear idea of where they’re headed, tailgating, unaware of the rules of the road, speeding, and without looking for pedestrians have been told, repeatedly, to be more careful already, without it sinking in. And actually, all of those sound like Seattle driving behaviors, except for the not watching for pedestrians part. (Not that people aren’t run down and killed even so.)
All that is needed now is an overlay of smart phone penetration in U.S. cities, so we can see the relationship between distracted driving and collisions. (Or, to triage the problem, distracted driving and fatalities.) “Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind,” says the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.
For you statistical wonks, here is some background on the Allstate report’s reliability:
A weighted average of the two-year numbers determined the annual percentages. The report defines an auto crash as any collision resulting in a property damage claim. Allstate’s auto policies represent about 10 percent of all U.S. auto policies, making this report a realistic snapshot of what’s happening on America’s roadways.