Your suspicions are correct: Las Vegas has some terrible drivers.
This is according to Allstate, the insurance company, which puts out the “America’s Best Drivers” report every year. It uses its own internal crash data to rank cities with populations of 50,000 or more on the basis of how likely drivers are to crash their cars.
The point, the company says, is to highlight those places where drivers get in fewer crashes than they do in other places.
You have to dig into the numbers a bit to find Las Vegas, but there it is: ranked 130th “safest” out of 194 cities in all. That’s in the bottom two-thirds. We’re 15 percent more likely to get in a wreck than the national average.
That’s worse than San Diego, but better than Chicago.
The typical Las Vegas driver gets in a crash every 8.7 years. In Fort Collins, Colo., which ranks as the safest city yet again, drivers go an average of 13.9 years between wrecks.
“It’s the mindset here, the attitude. People are in a hurry. Always in a hurry,” said Mike Seifer, an Allstate agent in Henderson.
He noted that Las Vegas was 136th last year, so it’s up six spots.
“Improvement is improvement,” he said. “But it’s still hectic out there.”
In better news, Henderson ranked 59th, up 11 spots since last year, and North Las Vegas ranked 118th, eight better than last year.
Reno was once again in the top 10, snagging sixth place, which is two better than last year.
The nation’s worst drivers are in Washington, D.C., where they’re more than twice as likely to get in a wreck as the national average. Washington drivers are getting in wrecks every 4.8 years. Data like that makes it own joke.
Part of this surely is that Las Vegas gets 40 million out-of-town visitors every year. Many of them are driving cars. Sometimes, they crash those cars.
But part of it is also that many of the people in the suburbs – we’re looking at you, Henderson and North Las Vegas – commute to Las Vegas to work. They don’t live in Las Vegas, but they’re driving in Las Vegas.
Seifer agreed that those were some of the reasons for Las Vegas’ bad ranking. But he also pointed out that the Phoenix area, which is similar to Las Vegas in its suburbs-and-commuting nature, did much better.
Phoenix ranked 71st, while suburban Scottsdale ranked 44th, and suburban Glendale was 49th.
All of this is important to keep in mind as the Labor Day weekend approaches. That’s one of the busiest driving weekends of the year, according to AAA. The group says holiday weekend traffic is expected to be up 5 percent this year over last year in the west.
And remember, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority says that 26 percent of those 40 million people who visit Las Vegas every year come from southern California.
Many of them will be driving. On our roads.
Los Angeles, by the way, ranked 181st in the Allstate survey. Those drivers are terrible.
Contact reporter Richard Lake at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0307.