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The Worst Drivers in the U.S. Live in...

Posted: May 23, 2008 10:47 a.m.

Congratulations, New Jersey drivers! You are officially the worst drivers in the United States!

No, we didn't just pull of the turnpike with this conclusion.  There was a test...

CNN Money explains, "The 2008 GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test found that 16.4%, of drivers, or 33 million, don't know the rules of the road."  The survey asked 5,524 drivers from all 50 states and the District of Columbia a series of "questions derived from official Department of Motor Vehicle tests" to gauge their knowledge of driving laws.  "Among the main sticking points were what to do when approaching a yellow light, and the safe distance to maintain behind another car."

According to a GMAC press release, New Jersey drivers finished 51st in the survey, with an average score of just 69.9 percent.  Almost 37 percent of New Jersey drivers failed the test.  Kansas drivers did the best.  The average score in that state was 84 out of 100, and only 5.7 percent of Kansas drivers failed.  GMAC also notes, "The older the driver, the higher the test score. Drivers 35+ years old were most likely to pass," and, "While average test scores between the genders were similar, women were more likely to fail the test than men (20 percent versus 13 percent)."

Apparently, most of us are better drivers now than we used to be.  CNN notes, "Overall, the national average score grew slightly to 78.1% from 77.1% in 2007, but scores varied based on driver demographic and geography."

Washington, D.C.'s WTOP News notes, "While national scores improved, the lowest test scores were found in the Northeast."  

Though the results can provide some fun bragging opportunities (and convince you to spring for the insurance on that rental next time you're in Newark), we should note that there is a serious purpose to the annual survey.  GMAC says "Overall, findings from the 2008 survey indicate that an alarming number of licensed Americans continue to lack knowledge of basic rules of the road."  Among the most startling findings, "Eighty-four percent could not identify the correct action to take when approaching a steady yellow traffic light, and 73 percent could not properly identify a typical safe following distance from the car in front of them." 

The ten lowest-scoring states, according to GMAC:

 

1. New Jersey

2. Washington, DC

3. New York

4. Massachusetts

5. Georgia

6. Mississippi

7. Hawaii

8. Lousiana

9. West Virginia

10. Maryland

 

See the full list to find out where your state ranks.

Think you could pass?  Visit http://www.gmacinsurance.com/SafeDriving/ to take the test.