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It's Official -- New Yorkers Don't Know How to Drive

Posted: May 21, 2009 10:52 a.m.

The worst drivers in America live in New York. Of course, you knew that. You've been in the Holland Tunnel. But now, we have proof.

GMAC Insurance has released the results of its National Drivers Test for 2009. The test, which measures basic knowledge of driving laws, was given to more than 5,000 drivers from all 50 states and the District of Columbia -- and New Yorkers finished last. Last year's loser, New Jersey, improved its score just enough to leap over New York. Hawaii, California and Georgia rounded out the bottom five.

Idaho and Wisconsin drivers tied for the highest average score, with an 80.6.

The point of the test, of course, is not just to confirm what anyone who's tried to merge onto the Thruway already knew. It's to measure how much we know about safe driving. And the news isn't good.

In a press release, GMAC explains, "Results from the 2009 GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test released today found that 20.1 percent of licensed Americans - amounting to roughly 41 million drivers on the road - would not pass a written drivers test exam if taken today." Most of us have trouble, according to the results, with "questions about yellow lights and safe following distances."

The survey has been given for five years. The average score has fluctuated up and down during that time, but this year it is down - 76.6 percent versus last year's 78.1.

GMAC notes, "In general, geographical regions ranked similarly to previous years, with the lowest average test scores in the Northeast, while the states in the Midwest held the highest averages. When comparing genders, men are still more likely to pass the test than women, but the gap is considerably smaller in 2009 (81 percent of males versus 79 percent of females) than in 2008 (87 percent of males versus 80 percent of females)."

And, "The older the driver, the higher the test score." Drivers over 35 were more likely to pass than those under 35, while men over 45 posted the highest scores, and "the age group with the highest failure rates was young adults (18 to 24 years old)."

Curious how you'd do? Take the test yourself. When you're finished, GMAC will even let you play a video game that teaches you how to avoid elderly people and aliens in the roadway (no, we're not kidding).

The full list of results by state:

1 ID

1 WI

3 MT

4 KS

5 SD

5 NE

7 UT

8 WY

8 IA

8 OR

8 MN

12 AK

12 ND

14 VT

15 CO

15 MO

17 OK

17 WA

19 NM

20 NC

21 VA

22 IN

22 MI

24 AR

24 TX

26 AL

26 NV

28 WV

29 IL

30 AZ

31 ME

32 DE

33 NH

34 OH

35 KY

36 PA

37 LA

38 TN

38 MS

40 SC

40 MD

42 CT

43 FL

44 DC

45 MA

46 RI

47 GA

48 CA

49 HI

50 NJ

51 NY

If you're in the market for a new car, check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars as well as this month's best car deals.