California had 14.3 million registered vehicles on the road in 2021, according to a study published by Statista, an online market and consumer data platform. The state also issued more than its fair share of driver’s licenses. According to a separate study from the same platform, California issued around 27 million driver’s licenses in 2021. But it does not end there. The Golden State ranks higher than most other states in one other category. It has the second-worst drivers in the country.
The Data That Shows Why California Is Said to Have the Second-Worst Drivers
The data proving California is home to the second-worst drivers extends well beyond studies from Statista. According to Policygenius, an online insurance marketplace that helps individuals compare and purchase various insurance products, there were 3,558 fatal traffic accidents in California in 2020, a close second to Texas, which had 4,068. But that’s only the fatalities. Total accidents in California were much higher. A recent study showed there were 216,366 traffic accidents reported in California in 2021, with around 162,092 resulting in injuries or fatalities.
Common Traffic Accidents in California
Like other states, all kinds of accidents occur on California’s interstates, freeways, and even small streets due to inattentive, distracted, inexperienced, and flat-out bad drivers. But some are undoubtedly more common than others. Available data shows that rear-end collisions account for 34% of all traffic accidents reported in the Golden State. T-bone and sideswipe collisions account for 20% and 13%, respectively. Head-on collisions account for 5%. Lastly, single-vehicle accidents account for 2%. Several factors contribute to these accidents on California’s roadways. The more common ones include the following:
- Speeding – 34% of all accidents
- Distracted driving – 21% of all accidents
- Failure to yield – 9% of all accidents
- Driving under the influence (DUI) – 8% of all accidents
What Traffic Debt Reveals About California Drivers
Poor driving practices don’t always culminate in traffic accidents. Sometimes, they only result in traffic tickets, which, oddly enough, provide further insight into what is happening on California roadways. Studies show the Golden State issues some 3 million traffic infraction citations annually, with the average citation costing drivers $600 to $700 each. Some of the state’s most frequently issued citations are for hit and runs, running red lights, tailgating, and speeding.
What California Cities Have the Absolute Worst Drivers?
Some California cities are more notorious for having bad drivers than others. According to California traffic accident statistics for 2022, the cities with the worst drivers include the following:
- Los Angeles – 36,562 accidents
- San Diego – 17,851 accidents
- San Francisco – 14,915 accidents
- Sacramento – 13,845 accidents
In terms of traffic accidents involving fatalities, Los Angeles had the most, reporting roughly 506 in 2022. San Diego had 208, San Francisco had 142, and Sacramento had 128.
What California Drivers Can Do to Reduce Traffic Accidents and Possibly Save Lives
Bad drivers put their lives and the lives of others at risk when they are on the road. The sooner they improve their driving habits for the better, the safer they and everyone else will be. Doing so may even save them hundreds in traffic tickets, not to mention points on their driver’s license. First and foremost, drivers should make it a point to put on their seatbelts whenever they get behind the wheel. While that won’t necessarily prevent an accident, it will lower the risk of suffering a severe injury or dying in one.
Second is obeying all traffic laws, such as speed limits, traffic signals, and road signs; doing this alone significantly lowers the chances of being in an accident. Third, drivers should avoid driving while under the influence. Lastly, they should avoid distracted driving. That includes texting, emailing, eating, putting on makeup, and so on while driving. If more California drivers adopt these practices, the Golden State might finally escape its designation as the state with the second-worst drivers.