A recently released study by CarInsurance.com claims that Washington state ranks among the lowest in the nation for driving conditions. The study looked at a variety of factors, including the estimated percentage of uninsured drivers, annual traffic deaths per 100,000 residents, number of bridges deemed structurally deficient, the yearly delay per commuter in that state’s most congested city, and more.
Washington came in at 42 out of 50 in the rankings. The factors responsible for the state’s miserable showing include an unusually high percentage of uninsured drivers at 16.1%, high gas prices, and lengthy commute delays in Seattle. The study also determined that 67% of the state’s roads are in poor or mediocre condition, although it estimated that repair costs due to driving on those substandard roads would be less than $300 per year for car owners. For comparison, the best state for car owners was found to be Utah, with the estimated cost for repairs due to bad roads pegged at less than $200.
But are the statistics as grim as the overall ranking makes them look? The Bellingham Herald pointed out that despite Washington’s miserable performance on other factors, the number of traffic fatalities per 100,000 residents is a mere 6.5. Looking only at traffic fatalities, Washington comes in at #5 out of 50.
That means that even though Washington’s drivers may face higher expenses and longer commutes, they’re less likely to die in an automobile accident. One possible cause: because a large percentage of Washington’s drivers complete most of their trips on congested, slow-moving roads, they’re less likely to get into the sorts of high-speed accidents that are most likely to result in fatalities. The states that outperformed Washington in lowest traffic deaths per capita—Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and New Jersey—are similarly congested, with only Rhode Islanders reporting commute delays under 63 hours per year.
Want to see the full rankings on an interactive chart? Check it out for yourself here.