America’s Worst Drivers

LendingTree conducted a study to find America’s worst drivers by looking at the number of driving incidents per 1,000 drivers in each state, grouped by vehicle brand.

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Since the pandemic, the cost of car insurance has increased by 30%, but some drivers are paying even more because they drive carelessly or poorly.

But who are the worst drivers in America? What kind of vehicle do they drive?

In an attempt to address these contentious issues, LendingTree examined “tens of millions” of insurance quotes between November 14, 2022, and 2023.

The researchers tallied the number of driving incidents (accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs, citations) per 1,000 drivers in each state, grouped by vehicle brand, as Visual Capitalist Marcus Lu illustrates below.

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The Top Car Brands With America’s Worst Drivers

LendingTree’s reasoning is straightforward: The more incidents associated with a particular brand, the more dishonest people push that brand.

At the top of the list, with 33 driving mishaps per 1,000 drivers, Rams (previously Dodge Ram, spun off on its own in 2009) drivers were the worst in the country.

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The internet appears to share this sentiment, as evidenced by a fast Google search. According to LendingTree’s category analysis, drivers of Ram vehicles received the most speeding fines, second-most accidents, and second-most DUIs out of all 30 brands in the dataset.

The complete list of evaluated American auto brands, arranged from worst to best drivers, is provided below:

RankCar BrandDriving Incidents/
1,000 Drivers
1Ram33
2Tesla31
3Subaru30
4Volkswagen28
5Mazda28
6BMW27
7Lexus27
8Infiniti27
9Hyundai25
10Toyota25
11Jeep25
12Kia25
13Honda25
14Audi24
15Nissan24
16Mercedes-Benz24
17Chevrolet23
18Ford22
19Mitsubishi22
20Volvo22
21GMC22
22Dodge21
23Acura20
24Chrysler19
25Lincoln19
26Buick19
27Cadillac18
28Saturn17
29Pontiac16
30Mercury16

What, though, makes Ram drivers so awful? This situation involves several variables, some of which could not even be related to the drivers. For aficionados of pickup trucks, Rams are the least expensive option, yet because of their design, current pickup trucks rank among the riskiest cars to drive. They are heavier, more prone to cause injuries or fatalities, taller than the majority of other cars on the road, and typically bigger, making them more difficult to maneuver. All of these factors make them blind spots for drivers.

Interestingly, though, drivers of other well-known pickup truck brands—Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, and Rams combined make up the best-selling car in almost every state in the union—rank somewhere in the bottom 20—far behind Ram drivers.

Tesla and Subaru Also Have Some of America’s Worst Drivers

Ram is the only automaker with fewer than 30 incidents per 1,000 drivers annually, followed by Tesla and Subaru.

Interestingly, during the investigation period, Tesla drivers also had the highest accident rate (23.5/1000). Following a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation that claimed that the driving assistance program Autosteer may result in an “increased risk of collision,” the business last month launched a large-scale recall in the United States.

Conversely, BMW drivers, who ranked sixth among the worst drivers overall, had the highest DUI rate (3.13/1,000) of all the drivers.

However, drivers of Pontiac and Mercury vehicles were among the best on the road, reporting only 16 incidents per 1,000 drivers—roughly half the number of events reported by Ram drivers.

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