Study: Georgia drivers 14th worst, 2nd most ticketed

Atlantans love iced tea, not iced roads. (AJC file photo)

Atlantans love iced tea, not iced roads. (AJC file photo)

After January’s Snowjam and the follow-up February smash hit, Snowjam II “Electric Boogaloo,” it would be easy to think Georgia drivers are the worst in the nation.

You’d be wrong.

Compared to our Southern peers — who, like us, hate ice as much as the depressed Zamboni driver at Philips Arena loves it — we are pretty good.

Nationally, however, Georgians rank as the 14th worst drivers, according to stats compiled by CarInsuranceComparison.com. To compile the list, the website looked at fatalities per mile driven and the number of traffic tickets handed out for drunk driving, careless driving and other offenses.

Our immediate Southern neighbors are all much better at bad driving than us. The worst-driving states are all from the South — Louisiana, South Carolina, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and Missouri round out the top 8.

Tennessee is ranked 13th and Arkansas, admitted to the SEC only recently, ranked 17th.

So, I think it is fair to say Southerners, despite our proud NASCAR heritage, aren’t that good behind the wheel.

Georgia seems to have more fatalities than we should, probably because of our much-beloved Interstates.

If you look deeper into the stats, it appears Georgians are No. 2 at getting traffic tickets, but the methodology is questionable.

Yankee drivers are best — Vermont was No. 1 followed by Utah, New Hampshire, and some other states you probably shouldn’t visit in winter.

The next time it snows and someone from north of Memphis tells you you don’t know how to drive, listen to them.

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54 comments Add your comment

Road Scholar

April 7th, 2014
9:18 am

When the first words spoken in a vehicle in the south are “Let’s see what this sucker can do!” and the next phrase spoken is “OH Sh!t”, you are surprised the south has the worst drivers?

My other favorites are “If you don’t like my driving, stay off the sidewalks!” and So many pedestrians, so little time!” give you a look at our best drivers instincts !

joe

April 7th, 2014
9:28 am

Ah George, Arkansas was added to the SEC 22 years ago. It was Missouri and Texas A&M who joined recently. Not much of a sports fan, eh?

George Mathis

April 7th, 2014
9:35 am

They weren’t in the SEC the last time I attended the “World’s Largest Cocktail Party.”

Litt

April 7th, 2014
9:43 am

Perhaps the reason for Georgia having bad drivers is all those “Damn Yankees” who came down and never went back.

The Real Gutrake

April 7th, 2014
9:48 am

From my experience, Beautiful women, wonderful people of Asian descent and the elderly Greatest Generation constitute 70% of our traffic/driving problems. This is as good as a scientific survey, too.

the red herring

April 7th, 2014
9:54 am

We are the 2nd most ticketed because we have all the police forces to maintain. In our county alone we have the sheriffs dept., a County police force, a City police force, Ga State Patrol, GBI, a college police force and just recently replaced our state hospitals police force with a hired security firm. So we now have 6 police agencies where we used to have 7—of course taxes can’t support all that govt. so we must collect revenue from writing tickets. not hard to do that math.

The Real Gutrake

April 7th, 2014
9:59 am

Hey, Red,

Multiply that times 159 counties!

LTO77

April 7th, 2014
10:03 am

Finally! Some validation that driving in the South can make one legally insane. We Northerners don’t expect you to know how to drive in snow and ice, and that’s not even my issue. One word of advice to maybe boost your stats, Southern folk… The LEFT lane is for PASSING, the right lanes are for larger and slower vehicles. So for the love of safety, get the hell over. I’m not being facetious, but is that honestly not taught here!? Oh, and Litt,… Damn Yankees, really? What year is this? Loosen up your corset and let it go… And trust me, this Mid-Western girl would have loved to stay up North, but alas, a 2 year job transfer is what it is. My time is almost done.

BenDaho

April 7th, 2014
10:19 am

There should be a law against chewing tobacco and spitting it in a soda bottle while driving. Do these statistics have and coorelation to education rating nationwide?

Road Scholar

April 7th, 2014
10:23 am

What is that turn thingee for?

stingembuzz

April 7th, 2014
10:24 am

When I am in the left lane, it is ultra rare for a car to pass me on the right, and normally it is someone doing triple digits and I didn’t have much of a chance to get back over.

Yankee = someone from the north
Damn Yankee – someone from the north that hasn’t left the south

PMDR

April 7th, 2014
10:29 am

After driving in close to 20 states and Canada, Atlanta drivers are just fine. California, even with it’s legendary jams, was just fine. Texas, maybe the best. Barely anyone even speeding in Dallas. But by FAR the worst idiot drivers I’ve ever had the misfortune to be around were in northern Virginia and Washington DC. There are times in Atlanta when you see somebody driving like a crazy person and you wonder how they avoid tickets and stay alive. In Virginia and DC. every driver was like that. Take the worse Atlanta drivers and worst of LA, and plus that, and make every car like that, and you get Virginia and DC drivers. How they manage to avoid vehicular carnage there, I have no idea. Literally felt like I was going on vacation once I got back to Atlanta traffic. This stuff is easy.

coj

April 7th, 2014
10:34 am

“Georgia seems to have more fatalities than we should, probably because of our much-beloved Interstates.”

Doesn’t have anything to do with Georgia drivers, huh?

Allison

April 7th, 2014
10:48 am

As a WESTERNER who has been here awhile, I can attest that Atlanta has its share of bad drivers, but some are very good in fact. I wonder if the Georgia stats are skewed because of Atlanta. I think in Atlanta that people act like they are too big of a hurry all the time (and not just during rush hour when it MIGHT be understandable. Then those playing “Frogger” on surface streets really make me wonder how much they are driving up insurance rates- and blood pressure treatment – for the rest of us.)

I agree with the commenter early about DC – I could not stand driving (or riding for that matter) there and haven’t been back in years because of it.

LookbeforeIleap

April 7th, 2014
10:52 am

I think we have the issues we have when it comes to bad driving is because driver’s ed here in Ga seems to be limited to getting into Cooter’s truck and driving up and down a dirt road 20 times or two 1 hour session with daddy in a Wal-Mart parking lot.

White Ghost

April 7th, 2014
10:55 am

Florida is filled with angry, old drivers.

PMDR

April 7th, 2014
10:59 am

The Red Herring is right on it: we have a lot of tickets because we have a lot of police writing them and they all need to justify their existence. In Fulton County, you have the County Police, whatever city you are in, the State Patrol, the Capitol Police, Georgia State University Police, GA Tech Police, and even MARTA Police all writing traffic tickets on the same pieces of road. The Fulton County Sheriff could as well if they wanted to, maybe also the Marshalls too. And then technically there’s further overlap as anyone sworn can write tickets at least in their entire county if not the entire state.

Though I have not seen adjacent cities poaching tickets from each other, it might be legally possible. THAT would be fun to watch. Is it considered stealing if City of Atlanta PD wrote tickets in Hapeville? City of Atlanta cops are in Hapeville/College Park/East Point all the time so this is not beyond possible. If it’s stealing revenue, which is theft, or maybe even armed robbery, would they try to arrest each other over it or shoot it out?

Ben

April 7th, 2014
11:14 am

Define good. Driving drunk means you’re a dangerous jerk… But it doesn’t mean you’re a bad driver when sober.

I’m an agressive driver, and have gotten plenty of speeding tickets since 2000. On the other hand, I’ve not even gotten close to a wreck since 2000, and no matter how many speeding tickets I rack up, the measure of safety is how many wrecks I’ve caused. Zero. Hard to say I’m the dangerous one with my speeding tickets when plenty of people drive the limit and do cause crashes. Like the guy I had to follow for 4 miles on the way to work today. He (or she, never found out for sure) was driving well under the speed limit, but couldn’t seem to stay in his lane. I’d say not being able to stay in your lane is a lot more unsafe than breaking the speed limit.

And I’ll bet most highway crashes that don’t involve drinking probably involve someone driving too slow in comparison to the rest of the cars on the road.

Roadrunner

April 7th, 2014
11:15 am

Anyone who has ever driven in New York City and says southerners are worse drivers is just lying. Lane changes in NYC are accomplished by aiming ones front bumper at the front wheel of the car beside you and daring them not to slam on their brakes as you move into their lane. ALL traffic signals, lane markers, etc. are simply suggestions for out-of-towners, not intended to limit local more knowledgeable NY drivers one bit. Its a good thing New Yorkers generally don’t have guns or there would be hourly shootings on their downtown streets, and wouldn’t be surprised if most of the Road Rage shootings down here are when one of these Yankees tries to pull this stuff down here…

White Ghost

April 7th, 2014
11:27 am

People drive lousy because they either don’t know the rules of the road, or they just don’t care. I’ve been with both types, and I’ve been both at sometime in my life. And it’s either luck or the grace of God that I’m still here. I’ve driven in the North, South, West, and overseas. Haven’t tried the Northeast, maybe that’s why I’m still alive. lol

White Ghost

April 7th, 2014
11:41 am

Blame bad driving on hormones– testosterone, estrogen, and adrenaline.

Brace4impactz

April 7th, 2014
11:56 am

I was recently driving on South Cobb when Don Henley’s “The Boys of Summer” came on the radio. I turned up the volume and started singing. Next thing I know this goober in a red F150 started repeatedly hitting his brakes in front of me. I eventually got around him and went on my way. Then I see this same clown speeding up to tailgate me. We get to a light and he pulls up next to me. He says ” I saw you mouthing off to me in my mirror, you got a problem?”. I told him “dude I was singing”. He then flipped me a bird, told me to “f off”, and tried (unsuccessfully) to burn rubber. Hilariously when he sped off, half of his yard work equipment fell off the back of his truck. I passed two weed whackers, a blower, and a rake, on the road.

DS

April 7th, 2014
12:08 pm

I agree that Northern Virginia/Washington DC drivers are the worst. Not very skillful, and many of them like to mess with others, in a passive-aggressive way. It’s a mess.

Atlanta used to have some of the best drivers, going back to the early 1980s. Sure, most people drove fast, but they seemed to do it well and didn’t mess with each other.

It all started going downhill after the 1996 Summer Olympics. Still not sure why, but there has been an ever-increasing number of, um, less-capable and inconsiderate drivers on the roads around here.

I think New York drivers are amazing. They drive pretty fast, sometimes scary-fast, but usually very well. I suppose many of those that can’t drive well don’t drive at all.

Road Kill

April 7th, 2014
12:09 pm

We are not a melting pot, but a toxic waste dump of different cultures from around the country and around the world. No one wants to assimilate and learn / obey laws, especially driving laws. No one wants to learn the English language that US road signage is written in. Case in point the Illegal alien that has been here for over a decade and crossed over all lanes of traffic on I 85 last week and killed a truck driver. Liberals and undocumented democrats don’t care about rules and laws. God Bless the New Mercia.

LTO77

April 7th, 2014
12:14 pm

They rarely pass on the right?! I must be high then… I have yet to drive on 285 and 400 without people flying up on the right while some idiot sits in the left lane texting/talking/eating or simply not following basic driving rules hangs out in the left lane with the I don’t care attitude. I guarantee you these people are causing accidents. The multiple cars switching lanes to pass the turtles (sitting in the middle lanes) on the right AND the left, and then come back over into each other is out of control here. And that is from someone that travels for a living and has driven all over the country. And where I am from, we signal.. And if we flash our lights that means, “Hey, moron.. Move.”

DB2014

April 7th, 2014
12:16 pm

Wow! I hate to drive in any other southern area, if GA is the best because in Atlanta most of the people drive like country bumpkins without any common sense.

I am praying and hoping that they go ahead and pass the “Slow Poke” law which will make it illegal to drive in the left fast lane. I think they can make majority of ticket money there.

People in Atlanta have no sense of how to merge, who has the right of way, stopping for pedestrians in cross walks, yielding, etc. and which is a bad thing to say but most accident here are well justified because whenever I see someone doing something crazy, they are either one the phone, texting or simply not paying attention and they are the reason why my car insurance is so high

DB2014

April 7th, 2014
12:19 pm

Road Kill what do illegal aliens have ANYTHING to do with this post??? Majority of stupid maneuvers are done by Americans and most of the tickets are received by Americans. So slow your roll with the propaganda right wing rhetoric.

An article could talk about Cinco de Mayo celebrations and you will be on a tirade about illegal aliens and Obama.

Male driver

April 7th, 2014
12:20 pm

Atlanta’s the capital of black female drivers who pull out of gas stations (etc.) at busy intersections—and then want to cross THREE LANES OF TRAFFIC to make an immediate left turn.

While simultaneously talking on a cell phone.

White Ghost

April 7th, 2014
12:28 pm

The IS a difference between “merge” and “yield”, and it’s not just the spelling.

White Ghost

April 7th, 2014
12:30 pm

“There”, not “The.” duh.

Bumper

April 7th, 2014
12:57 pm

In metro Atlanta, at least, a large number of drivers on the road do not have a drivers license – or insurance. That is attributable to our large population of illegal immigrants, who cannot be licensed and therefore have no need to know the rules of the road.

DRIVING LESSONS

April 7th, 2014
1:04 pm

1. Slow traffic keep right. You can do 52 mph in the number 3 lane just fine. Stay the heck out of the left lane.

2. Use your accelerator when you merge. While folks should leave space open, no one has to slow down to let you in. If don’t have the skill and reaction time to get on the highway effectively: stay home.

3. Leave space and let people merge. I don’t live in Fulton but I laugh at the jackwagons on the 285E to 400N merge. Nobody lets anybody in, and it causes a ton of traffic.

So in short, slow traffic keep right, match the speed of the road you are attempting to merge into, leave space and let people merge.

Mudfoot

April 7th, 2014
1:05 pm

I’ve driven in every one of the lower 48 states – Georgia drivers are some of the worst. The majority are distracted, too scared too drive safely or just too dang obtuse to worry about anyone else on the road. It would be comical if it didn’t effect so many people. Y’all worry about the guy on your tail when it’s you holding him and 20 other cars behind him up. Just move over. If you’re going to drive the same speed as the guy in the lane next to you then get in front of or behind him and let those of us forced to ride behind you go. Less accidents, less stress AND you displayed common courtesy… something that should be important to people who are proud of their christianity… loud and proud.

EM

April 7th, 2014
1:18 pm

Enter your comments here

heavyhitter

April 7th, 2014
1:21 pm

All of the good drivers must be from the rest of GA because they sure aren’t from the greater Atlanta area!.

DaPoet

April 7th, 2014
1:23 pm

LT077 I’ll be glad to move over once the GSP gets serious about cracking down on speeders doing 85 or more and riding the bumpers of other drivers moving at the posted speed limit or just above. Contrary to popular misconceptions the law in regards to the left hand lane being reserved for passing is not a justification for endangering the lives of other drivers – who are driving at the posted speed limit or just above – with excessive speed, tailgating and aggressive driving.

ABC

April 7th, 2014
1:34 pm

I call shennanigans on the 2nd most ticketed. I bet that has a WHOLE lot less to do with driving ability and a LOT more to do with supporting corrupt police departments whose number 1 concern is revenue generating as opposed to serving and protecting.

Hand Full of Spades

April 7th, 2014
2:26 pm

I got one word for everyone…. TRAFFIC!!!! I believe Atlantans have the same problem as New Yorkers, people from LA, Washington D.C. etc. When a city has so much constant road congestion, it makes people impatient, and when drivers are constantly in congestion day in and day out, they typically drive very “aggressively” and somewhat recklessly because they have literally accustom themselves to being impatient drivers and constantly speed, cut corners any chance that they get…. Not trying to make any excuses for any out of control drivers, this is just my two cents. Better Public Transportation and better sidewalks are the only way Atlanta interstates will get better……

DRIVING LESSONS

April 7th, 2014
2:28 pm

@DaPoet

You’re a typical left lane idiot.

You’re fine breaking the law as long as you’re breaking the law in a way that YOU’RE comfortable with. Typical arrogance.

“Just over the speed limit” is defined by you, depending on your circumstance.

I’ll give you a hint, buddy: it’s not your job to police the left hand lane.

http://www.motorists.org/lane-courtesy/excuses

It’s one of those ironies where the people ‘policing’ the left hand lane are far more arrogant and dangerous than they people they’re attempting to control.

MANGLER

April 7th, 2014
2:58 pm

Since the whole left lane thing is the single largest problem y’all all seem to have with traffic ’round here, we’re clearly not doing so poorly.
That being said, I do appreciate that thanks to the last minute rewording of the slowpoke law, I’m now allowed to tailgate and be aggressive to people who aren’t driving as fast as whatever whim I’m having tells me I can go, regardless of the posted limit or driving conditions.

C Higginbotham

April 7th, 2014
2:58 pm

Of course we rate better than our neighbors–it’s partially based on number of tickets issued. We have so few police in this state (keeps taxes low, you know) they can’t begin to ticket the number of drivers they should.

DoucheBag2014

April 7th, 2014
4:37 pm

I love my illegal alien slaves that are driving all over the place unlicensed and uninsured. I certainly do not drive them to the store to pick up cleaning supplies, that is their job and if they like their job they need to do as I say so. Anyone that does not like my undocumented democrat future voters are Racists.

You cannot celebrate Cinco de Mayo and enjoy tacos and margaritas unless you employ and like your illegals like I do. I can’t live without them. If you don’t like the way they drive too bad the signs need to be in Spanish too.

Jefferson

April 7th, 2014
4:58 pm

If you are in a hurry, you should have left sooner.

LTO77

April 7th, 2014
5:13 pm

I never said anything about going well over the speed limit in regard to being in the left lanes. I fact, I don’t think I have much gone over 80 while living here. Except maybe to get around someone not following the guidelines. My entire point, along with others here, is that IF you’re going 60 in a 70, you should NOT be in the left lane. Let’s be realistic, 70 mph means most ATL drivers are going 75-80. You are causing people to go around you, in the RIGHT lane meant for slower traffic. And get off your high horse of policing the highways as a damn civilian. What a joke. 1 year left here.. 1 year left…

LTO77

April 7th, 2014
5:18 pm

Driving Lessons, thank you for getting it.. And stating it better than I did. My anger at constantly being put in horrible road conditions overrides my capability at being polite. I would sadly much rather drive in a foot of snow at night in Ohio, than a chance of a slight drizzle in Atlanta at 5pm.

roughrider

April 7th, 2014
6:02 pm

” Georgians are No. 2 at getting traffic tickets,….. ”
Maybe our state patrolmen have higher ticket quotas than other states.

Hidden Agenda

April 7th, 2014
9:31 pm

2nd most ticketed just means that our revenue collection officers who pretend to care about safety are more motivated during quota time than the comparable tax-feeding parasites in other states. It has little to nothing to do with driver safety.

Rafe Hollister

April 7th, 2014
9:31 pm

Just got back from Austin,TX drove both ways. Much better drivers, more polite. Driving two lane roads running 80 and the folks in front doing 85 consistently move to the right lane as a courtesy, when you get to a wide passing lane portion of the road. I was not going to pass drivers doing 85, but I admired their courtesy. They also have “tractor lanes” or break down lanes, wide paved shoulders, on two lane roads, what we would call wide emergency lanes. Really slow pickup driving farmers pull over to let you by routinely.

Never saw a TX highway patrol car going or coming. Traffic moved fast, but people were courteous and good drivers.

Hidden Agenda

April 7th, 2014
9:43 pm

Judge blasts FBI over Saudi family investigation – How about investigating all of the bin Laden family members the Bush administration helped get out of this country right after 9-11 while the rest of the country was grounded? Come on folks, how can you seriously believe the government stories on who was responsible and how it all came together? If the government actually cared, these stories would not keep coming up with absolutely NO answers.

Richard

April 8th, 2014
7:00 am

Georgia could easily take number 1 in the ticket department. Every driver here sees an unticketed offense every day. Distracted driving and substance abuse (I would include caffeine and prescription amphetamines in this grouping) are certainly playing a role nationwide. Personally, I can not believe that Georgia does not require Driver’s Education (classroom study of traffic law, map and GPS use, mathematical calculations of distance/time estimations, etc.) as well as publically sponsored public school Driver’s Training. Probably, the one feature of the Georgian personality that has prevented mass chaos has been a certain respect and mannerly treatment of others innate to the Southern personality. Unfortunately, this is gradually being diluted out. Couple Northern impatience, rudeness, and bully behavior with Southern lack of knowledge regarding ‘rules of the road’ and Georgia could turn in to a real blood bath.