The information is in from Allstate Insurance Company’s annual “America’s Best Drivers’ Report.” And it doesn’t do Seattle and King County drivers any favors. Of the 200 U.S. communities recently listed as “America’s Safest,” Seattle drivers ranked 184th; ten behind Bellevue’s 174, and 20 behind Tacoma’s 164 (the highest ranking of any Puget Sound community). This year, Seattle dropped ten spots from its 2013 Allstate ranking of 174.
According to Allstate’s bad drivers report, the average Seattle driver gets into a car accident every 6.9 years and is 46 percent more likely to get into one than the national average.
Getting Drivers to Pay Better Attention
From 2008 to 2012; 20 percent of all King County traffic accidents were caused by a distracted driver. According to the county’s Public Health Services, distracted drivers killed 86 people and seriously injured 338.
A joint 2009 study by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and Virginia Tech University revealed that drivers of heavy vehicles or truckers who text message were 23 more likely to cause a crash than non-distracted drivers. It’s a safe guess those same figures probably hold true for drivers of all vehicles.
Washington’s text messaging and cell phone laws have helped reduce mobile device distraction behind the wheel. But in 2015, the Washington State House refused to act to strengthen both laws after the Senate passed it by a margin of almost two-and-a-half to one.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, said she proposed the legislation because distracted driving is “especially dangerous with youth drivers;” and promises to reintroduce the measure in the Legislature’s next session.
Speeding (and Impaired) Driving Kills and Injures
In 2012, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) launched its Road Safety Action Plan to eliminate serious injuries and fatalities by 2030. It has a companion initiative: Washington’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan known as “Target Zero.” Both programs focus on the most common causes of traffic accidents (including a vehicle on pedestrian, motorcycle and bicycle).
The top three goals on these “hit lists” are as follows.
- Reduce drivers who speed
- Shrink the number of distracted drivers
- Eliminate impaired drivers
In Seattle, the total number of wrecks caused by speeding was 473 in 2013. Seattle Department of Transportation data shows that drivers between age 16 and 25 caused or contributed to 37 percent of all speed-related crashes.
Impaired driving (both alcohol and drugs) is still the top contributor to serious injuries and fatalities in the King County area; though that number has dropped from 48 to 29 percent between 2010 and 2013.
Reasons for the decrease in impaired driving include the following, according to the Seattle Department of Transportation.
- DUI emphasis patrols by police
- Companion late night taxi stands during weekends
- Pre-paid parking options that allow drivers to leave their cars behind if impaired
So, even though the Allstate Best Drivers Report didn’t go well for us this year, we all can figure out how to be part of the solution that gets us a better ranking in the future. Max Meyers Law represents injured motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists in Washington. Contact Max Meyers Law at 425-399-7000 for help after a crash.