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How Good – or Bad – Are Carolina Drivers?

A recent study has placed South Carolina drivers as some of the worst in the country. According to data collected by, the state places third when it comes to having the worst drivers. Texas and Louisiana tied for first place.

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How Was the Study Conducted?

The data used for the study was provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These statistics were used by the NHTSA in a study that focused on fatal car accidents and the cause of those crashes. In addition to the overall worst drivers, states were also graded in the following categories:

  • Careless driving (pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities per 100,000 population);
  • Alcohol-related crashes (percentage of fatal crashes that involved alcohol);
  • Failure to obey (percentage of fatal crashes that involved traffic signals, not wearing seat belts, and driving with an invalid driver’s license);
  • Fatalities rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled; and
  • Speeding (percentage of driving fatalities that were speed-related).  

Even more disturbing than being number three on the list of worst drivers, South Carolina is first in the category of fatalities rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, and number seven in the speeding and careless driving categories. The state also placed high – number 10 – for alcohol related crashes.

North Carolina Drivers

By comparison, North Carolina drivers came in as number 12 in the overall worst driver category. In the fatalities rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled category, North Carolina placed at number 20. In the speeding category, NC placed at number 4, which was higher on the list than SC, but it places lower – number 15 – in the careless driving category. In the alcohol-related crash category, North Carolina was number 41 on the list.

Why Such a Difference between the Carolinas?

One of the reasons why there may be such a difference in the number of fatal crashes between the two states is the difference in the foundation that new drivers are required to have before obtaining their license. Although both states require teens to take a driver’s education class, North Carolina appears to have more stringent requirements than South Carolina does.

For example, according to the North Carolina Driver's Handbook, a person must have completed an approved course that has a minimum of 30 hours of classroom time and six hours of actual driving instruction before they can take the test to obtain a learner’s permit or a driver’s license. By contrast, South Carolina only requires new drivers to take a minimum of eight hours of classroom instruction time and six hours driving instruction time.

Injured in a Carolinas Car Crash?

No matter how safe a driver you may be, there is always the risk that someone else behind the wheel engages in bad driving behaviors. If you have been injured in a car accident, contact a Carolinas personal injury attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have for your pain and loss.

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