Unfit To Drive? Study Says It's 1 In 5

May 26, 2011

According to a new study by GMAC Insurance, nearly 37 million Americans – about 18 percent – are unfit to drive on the road. That’s nearly one in five drivers today.

It’s ironic that most Americans, if you ask them, will say that they’re safe drivers. But our tendency to engage in bad habits like texting and talking on cellphones while driving, cruising through stop signs, ignoring oncoming traffic while we’re reaching for something on the seat or fiddling with the radio, let alone consistently exceeding the speed limit as if posted limits don’t apply to us – all these show that many of us are anything but safe drivers.

And, according to the study, now in its seventh year, a whole lot of us don’t know enough about our state’s driving laws to pass the driving test or even get a license.

That should certainly be a wake-up message – especially as we approach the Memorial Day weekend and the start of the summer driving season.

Worst, best drivers are where?

This year, Washington, D.C. beat out New York as the area with the least knowledgeable drivers.  Average score in Washington, D.C. was 71.8 percent. But in New York state, specifically in the Brooklyn area, 54 percent of drivers couldn’t pass the state’s written drivers test if they had to take it today.

Funny how this reporter always figured the drivers in the nation’s capitol and in and around New York had something pretty peculiar going on with respect to how they drive. This is based on personal experience, mind you.

Interestingly, Kansas boasts the most knowledgeable drivers in the country, continuing its ranking in first place with an average score of 82.9 percent.

Go figure. Must be something about the diet or upbringing, or what have you. Actually, per the GMAC Insurance study results, Midwest drivers are pretty savvy about driving laws.

Well, this reporter could have told them that, having lived in both Detroit and Chicago for quite some time. No, it wasn’t Kansas, but raising a family and traveling a lot via car in the family sedan probably contributed to knowing a bit about how to navigate the road safely. Just getting through the bitter winters and summer downpours without a serious road mishap required some hard-earned driving skills. What drivers didn’t have back then were cellphones. I know -- that’s all ancient history. But we were a lot safer – and less distracted.

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