Does the fact that the worst-rated big city drivers in the United States live, work and crash in the Washington-Baltimore locality pay zone mean something? And if so, what does that say about the skill of civil servants as drivers?
Allstate insurance company has come out with its annual best-and-worst list and Baltimore came in dead last at 200 out of 200 cities by accident claims. Washington, D.C., its sister city to the south, came in 198th on the list of most claims in the shortest period of time. The ratings are based on number and frequency of claims to that company.
Baltimore has many more federal workers than most comparable size-cities — the Social Security Administration, for example. The Washington, D.C., metro area, which includes parts of Maryland, northern Virginia and a tiny chunk of West Virginia, has about 14 percent of the total federal workforce. But the bad-driver data is a tale of two stand-alone cities, not for their often affluent suburbs.
The safest drivers in the nation, according to the Allstate analysis of frequency and number of claims, are in Brownsville, Texas, followed by Kansas City, Kansas, and Boise, Idaho. Either there isn’t as much to run in to, or people just don’t have as many accidents and subsequent claims.
Washington is (in)famous for its bridges and traffic circles, as well as the Beltway and other challenges for commuters and residents alike. We have a large diplomatic community here ranging from ambassadors to clerical employees, some of whom drive on the left or in the middle of the road. We have a lot of taxis mostly driven by people who did not grow up around destinations such as The Capitol or The Kennedy Center, which are confusing even for native Washingtonians.
Ranking just above and below D.C. are Worcester and Boston, Massachusetts, respectively. Philadelphia and Alexandria, Virginia, also big federal towns, ranked 191 and 192 on accident-prone list, respectively.
What may save the reputation of feds is one of my favorite federal cities: Huntsville, Alabama. It is a high-density city with virtually every federal agency represented. Some say it is a clone of D.C., except for the driving part.
In fairness, it should be pointed out that while Allstate is a major insurer here, GEICO and USAA probably outnumber it in coverage among many federal workers, current and former military personnel. So a look at their records might produce a very different result.