Blame it on the Beltways. Blame it on the traffic. Blame it on East Coast tempers, ride-sharing or overzealous insurance-claim filers. But whatever the reason, insurance company Allstate has ranked Baltimore drivers the worst in the nation — and D.C. drivers aren't much better.
Allstate's annual “Best Drivers Report” looks at drivers in the nation's 200 largest cities, tabulating property damage frequency to figure out which citizens are safest behind the wheel. Even after controlling for population density and precipitation, the 2018 report put Baltimore at the bottom of the list, with drivers 163 percent more likely to file a claim than the national average. Allstate said Baltimore drivers go 3.8 years between claims, on average, with about 29 “hard-braking events” per 1,000 miles.
At No. 198, D.C. drivers are 156 percent more likely to file a claim than the national average, with an average of 3.9 years between claims and about 26 “hard-braking” events per 1,000 miles. Alexandria, Va., came in at No. 192.
It's not just that D.C. and Baltimore are bad. The two cities have gotten worse, Allstate says -- each dropping one spot since last year's report.
John B. Townsend II, a spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic, said there are more than 20 traffic fatalities each year in the District, and the number of crashes -- 24,265 in 2015, the most recent year for which data was available -- is on the rise.
He blamed D.C.'s "polyglot" driving culture, with drivers from all over used to driving in different ways.
"The bottom line is when you are out and about in the city, each one of us has to do our parts to make the roads safer and make travel in the city safer," he said. "Too many are shirking their responsibility by being in a hurry."
The safest drivers were found in Brownsville, Tex. At No. 1, the border town enjoys an average of more than 13 years between claims, and its drivers are more than 26 percent less likely to file a claim than the national average. Brownsville was followed by Kansas City, Kan., and Boise, Idaho.
Luckily for the D.C. region, the Allstate report “is not used to determine auto insurance rates,” the report says.