Men’s Health Magazine just published its rankings for the safest and most dangerous drivers in the country. It based its rankings on
the rate of fatal accidents, as well as the deaths caused specifically by speeding, both from the National Highway traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In addition, we pulled city statistics on accident frequency from Allstate Insurance. And then we used statewide numbers on speeding from the Governors Highway Safety Association, plus NHTSA state data on seatbelt use.
How did we rank, you might ask? Unfortunately, Phoenix did not rank well.
According to Men’s Health Magazine, Phoenix, Arizona drivers receive a failing grade ranking twelfth for worst drivers in the country. Not such a good grade for the largest City in Arizona. What in Phoenix encourages people to drive so badly? One reason may relate to freeway capacity and daily traffic volume. The Department of Transportation funded and built several state freeways based upon capacity studies which we now know grossly underestimated actual traffic volume in our State. Therefore, freeways were designed and built with substantially less traffic in mind and with fewer safety features than necessary to accommodate actual traffic volume. Clearly, as people move to Arizona and traffic volume increases on our city roadways, the number of collisions increase as well. As traffic volumes rise, designers must add appropriate roadway safety features into roadway design and construction. Appropriate safety design features such as large roadside clear zones, median barrier protection, and crash cushions depend on acurate traffic volume estimates, design speeds and operating speeds. The failure to upgrade and maintain roadway safety features, together with larger than expected increasing traffic volume could certainly explain why Phoenix has higher per capita accident rates compared to other cities in the country. While these are just my thoughts about one explanation why Phoenix received a failing grade, I’d like to hear your thoughts as well.