Watch out When You See These License Plates: 15 States With the Worst Drivers

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This guide was written by Sara East

Sara East Sara East is a freelance writer and content marketing professional based in Reno, NV. She specializes in content on insurance, mortgage, business and travel.

If you find yourself driving in the following 15 states, you may want to pay extra close attention on the road. Using a unique weighted ranking system based on the likelihood of a driver to make safe choices while on the road, have safe driving habits and carry adequate car insurance, MoneyGeek has ranked these states as having the worst drivers.


15 Pennsylvania
highway near Chester, Pennsylvania Safe Choice Score (out of 100): 60
Safe Habit Score (out of 100): 56
Percentage of Drivers Insured: 92.4%

The Keystone State ranks 15th on MoneyGeek’s list of the worst states because it has one of the worst rates of speeding-related fatality rates in the nation (No. 10) and is in the top 20 states for fatalities without a safety restraint.


14 Alabama
highway near Mobile, Alabama Safe Choice Score (out of 100): 60
Safe Habit Score (out of 100): 56
Percentage of Drivers Insured: 81.6%

Alabama drivers are on the list due to all-around low performance. Notably, the state has the nation's seventh-highest rate of fatalities without a safety restraint and one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers in the nation.


13 Louisiana
traffic in French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana Safe Choice Score (out of 100): 62
Safe Habit Score (out of 100): 46
Percentage of Drivers Insured: 87%

Louisiana drivers may be on top of being adequately insured, but the state’s low ranking in safe habits and choices bumps them down the list. It doesn’t work in Louisiana’s favor that the state has the sixth-highest DUI rates.


12 Colorado
Driving in a snowstorm near Denver, Colorado Safe Choice Score (out of 100): 58
Safe Habit Score (out of 100): 54
Percentage of Drivers Insured: 86.7%

Colorado has one of the lower rates of seatbelt usage at 78%, which puts it near the bottom of MoneyGeek’s list of worst states for drivers making smart choices behind the wheel.


11 Texas
aerial view of busy highway during the day in Dallas, Texas Safe Choice Score (out of 100): 48
Safe Habit Score (out of 100): 66
Percentage of Drivers Insured: 85.9%

Texas's high DUI rank, combined with its top ranking in distracted driving, lands it on the list of states with the worst drivers. Texas ranks seventh in distracted driving and fourth in DUIs, which results in its low safe-choice score.


10 Missouri
city traffic in Kansas City, Missouri Safe Choice Score (out of 100): 60
Safe Habit Score (out of 100): 45
Percentage of Drivers Insured: 86%

According to the numbers, Missouri drivers tend to go fast without wearing their seatbelts. The state ranks seventh for the most speeding-related fatalities and eighth for the most unrestrained fatalities in the nation, putting them in the top 10 of the states with the worst drivers.


9 Arizona
overview of busy highway in Arizona Safe Choice Score (out of 100): 50
Safe Habit Score (out of 100): 58
Percentage of Drivers Insured: 88%

Arizona falls in the middle of most rankings, but the fact that it has the seventh-highest DUI fatality rate in the nation ranks the state No. 9 on MoneyGeek’s list.


8 Arkansas
road with light traffic in suburban Arkansas Safe Choice Score (out of 100): 63
Safe Habit Score (out of 100): 36
Percentage of Drivers Insured: 83.4%

With the second-worst safety belt usage and one of the nation's worst unrestrained fatality rates (No. 9), Arkansas finds itself at No. 8 on the list of states with the worst drivers. The Grand Canyon State also makes the list of the top-20 states for DUIs.


7 Mississippi
Side of the road entering Mississippi with a sign welcoming visitors to the state Safe Choice Score (out of 100): 75
Safe Habit Score (out of 100): 19
Percentage of Drivers Insured: 76.3%

Mississippi's decent safety choices can’t cover for its poor safety habits that land it at No. 7 on MoneyGeek’s list. That state comes in at No. 1 for the nation’s highest unrestrained fatality rates and the third-worst state for safety belt usage in the nation.


6 New Hampshire
a winding road in rural New Hampshire with fall foliage Safe Choice Score (out of 100): 51
Safe Habit Score (out of 100): 30
Percentage of Drivers Insured: 90.1%

Drivers in the Granite State are well insured but still fall low on the list for several other factors. New Hampshire ranks No. 6 on the list because it has one of the worst ranks for speeding-related fatalities (No. 4) and is in the top 10 for unrestrained-related fatalities.


5New Mexico
a road entering the Valley of Fire in New Mexico with red rock mountains visible Safe Choice Score (out of 100): 50
Safe Habit Score (out of 100): 45
Percentage of Drivers Insured: 79.2%

While New Mexico’s overall safe choice and safe habit score fall in the middle of the rankings, the state makes the top five for worst drivers in the nation for its No. 1 ranking in distracted driving. New Mexico has high speeding and DUI fatality rates, both of which are among the 10 worst rates in the nation.


4 South Dakota
motorcycle riders on a road in South Dakota heading toward Mount Rushmore Safe Choice Score (out of 100): 40
Safe Habit Score (out of 100): 23
Percentage of Drivers Insured: 92.3%

South Dakota ranks No. 4 on MoneyGeek’s list of states with the worst drivers because it has the worst DUI-arrest ranking in the nation. This correlates with its DUI fatality rate, which puts it among the worst five states for drivers.


3 Alaska
road in Alaska heading towards mountains covered in snow with overcast sky Safe Choice Score (out of 100): 14
Safe Habit Score (out of 100): 61
Percentage of Drivers Insured: 84.6%

The state of Alaska sits consistently at the second-worst state for all categories related to safe habits behind the wheel. Because of its DUI fatalities and arrests and speeding fatalities, Alaska finds itself at No. 3 on the overall list of states with the worst drivers.


2 South Carolina
a winding road in South Carolina with fall foliage on the trees and a rock wall to the right Safe Choice Score (out of 100): 16
Safe Habit Score (out of 100): 39
Percentage of Drivers Insured: 90.6%

The Palmetto State is No. 2 on MoneyGeek’s list of the worst states for drivers because it has the worst rate of speed-related fatalities in the nation and is among the top 10 states for fatalities without a safety restraint, DUIs and distracted driving.


1 Montana
a highway in Montana with snowy mountains in the background Safe Choice Score (out of 100): 22
Safe Habit Score (out of 100): 27
Percentage of Drivers Insured: 90.1%

Sara East is a freelance writer and content marketing professional based in Reno, NV. She specializes in content on insurance, mortgage, business and travel.