DAY 22: It’s Official! Texans Are America’s Worst Drivers

I learned this fun fact during our statewide Thanksgiving road trip.

To be fair, we’re tied with our neighbors to the east. Louisianans are just as bad, if that makes you feel any better. (It seems our states are highly competitive in rankings of “worst,” “fattest” and “lowest.”)

It’s just how I roll, babe.

Our recent worstness was reported in USA Today and is based on an analysis by The insurance folks looked at a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study of fatal car crashes and their causes. Texas scored in the top 15 in every awful category considered. We were #3 in drunk driving, which I bet you’re not surprised to hear.

Culture of stupid vs. culture of safety

But here’s something I don’t get. Over the years, I’ve worked with a lot of Texans and Louisianans employed by energy companies and service companies. These are major employers and big influencers in both states. The companies teach and preach a “culture of safety.” The people I know buy into the culture—at least enough to buckle their seatbelt and not drive drunk.

So, what’s happening? Is there a stronger influence at work? Jackass movies, perhaps? Or is it something more systemic and sinister? For example, are our vehicles, highway system and traffic laws designed to foster the mayhem we see every day?

The future Ford F-150?

For now, I’m thinking about the battle being waged between automakers and technology companies. Both know that autonomous vehicles (self-driving cars) are inevitable. Most automakers want to go slower, adding self-driving features until we’re all comfortable with the idea of robot-assisted cars. Google wants to remove the steering wheel and gas pedal altogether—ASAP—and let the robot do the driving.

As someone who’s frequently on the road in Texas and Louisiana (home of the drive-thru daiquiri stand), I know which approach I prefer. What do you think?

Photo credits: bad driver by Jaredmoron by Julian Lim, Google Self-driving Car by smoothgrover22, licensed under CC 2.0

One comment

  1. I’m waiting for the auto industry to remove from my fellow drivers the opportunity to use their vehicle as a form of self expression. Decorate it, make it a fashion statement, but don’t tell me how unhappy you are by the way you use your accelerator pedal.

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