The safest and most dangerous cities for drivers
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How safe is your city for motorists? A new NerdWallet analysis has looked at the risks for those who drive in nearly 200 of the country’s most populous cities. We looked at car crashes and the number of fatalities, vehicle crimes, and other factors to determine which cities are the safest and which places are the most dangerous for drivers.
Then we took into account auto insurance quote for the average driver in these cities and found surprising differences.
NerdWallet ranked the largest cities in the country to find a score based on five parameters: fatality rate, probability of an accident compared to other cities, number of years between accidents, risk car theft – a burglary – and the risk of having a vehicle stolen.
We compared the total scores based on these parameters with the auto insurance rates in each city, analyzing the average annual cost of insurance given that state’s legal requirements and the most affordable insurers among the largest companies. of this market.
Key points to remember
Big cities tend to be more dangerous. The average population of our 20 safest cities is 208,944, compared to an average population of 488,710 for the 20 most dangerous cities. Not all major cities are riskier for drivers, however: the nation’s largest city, New York, is the 34th safest, according to our analysis.
Drivers are at higher risk in cities on the south and east coast. Thirteen of the 20 most dangerous cities are located in the south or on the east coast. Twelve of the 20 safest places are in the Midwest and West, and three of the 20 safest places for drivers are in Arizona.
Auto insurance rates are 47% more expensive in our most dangerous cities. The average annual insurance rate in our 20 most dangerous cities is $ 1,721, compared to $ 1,169 in our 20 safest cities. In Detroit, our most dangerous city for drivers, you’ll pay on average 642% more for auto insurance than in our safest place, Cary, North Carolina.
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The 5 most dangerous cities for drivers
Of all the cities analyzed, Detroit has the second highest fatality rate per 100,000 population (16.2). The average annual cost of insurance in Detroit ($ 5,409) is $ 4,680 more than our safest city for drivers, Cary, North Carolina. As with four of our five most dangerous cities for drivers, Detroit received ratings that fall in the “least safe” range for burglaries and stolen cars.
2. Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Baton Rouge recorded 38 fatal crashes in 2014. Although the number is much lower than Detroit, which had 110 fatal crashes, Baton Rouge’s population is much smaller, meaning its rate of 16.6 fatalities per 100 000 inhabitants is the highest in our analysis. But Baton Rouge fared better than other cities in the top five most dangerous in terms of car theft risk – it received a “less secure” score, a cut above “less secure”.
Drivers in Baltimore face a shorter average number of years between crashes (4.7 years) compared to other cities at the top of our most dangerous list. The cities with the worst accident rates are Worcester, Massachusetts, which is No. 10 in our ranking, and Boston – the 16th most dangerous city, where drivers will see an average 3.9 years between accidents, over time. shorter on our list. Baltimore also has the third highest relative accident rate among the 20 most dangerous cities compared to the national average.
4. Springfield, Massachusetts
Springfield is the only city in our top five most dangerous places with less than 200,000 residents. The average time between accidents is 5.2 years, the fifth shortest average time of all the cities analyzed. Springfield also has the fifth highest relative accident probability compared to the national average.
5. San Bernardino, California
Of all the cities analyzed, San Bernardino has the third highest rate of fatal accidents per 100,000 population with 15.8. However, the average time between crashes (8.7 years) is the same as in our fourth safest city, Naperville, Illinois. San Bernardino has the lowest annual auto insurance rates of our five most dangerous cities, averaging $ 1,218, just a few dollars more each year than what drivers pay in Fort Collins, Colo. our third safest city.
Top 20 most dangerous cities for drivers
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The 5 safest cities for drivers
1. Cary, North Carolina
Our safest city for drivers is just outside of Raleigh, North Carolina. Cary had the second lowest fatality rate per 100,000 population at 1.3. Only Alexandria, Va., Fared better – there were no fatal crashes in 2014, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Cary, with 155,227 residents in the 2014 census, reported two fatal accidents that year. Cary received a “Safest” Automatic Theft Risk Score and a “Safe” Motor Vehicle Theft Score from an analysis of NeighborhoodScout data. Drivers here can expect to pay an annual average of $ 729 for auto insurance.
2. Boise, Idaho
In Boise, the only city with over 200,000 people in our top five of the safest, there is an average of 13.1 years between road crashes – the second longest crash-free period of any place we have. examined. Brownsville, Texas, and Kansas City, Kansas, are tied for first place, averaging 13.3 years between crashes. Boise also has the third lowest relative accident probability compared to the national average.
3. Fort Collins, Colorado
Although Fort Collins is our third safest city for drivers, it was rated “less safe” for the risk of car break-ins. The city has the third longest average time between crashes, at 12.7 years, tied with Cape Coral, Florida. However, the city has the highest auto insurance rates of our 10 safest cities, with annual premiums averaging $ 1,212.
4. Naperville, Illinois
Naperville is one of two of our five safest cities where the relative accident risk of 15.1% is higher than the national average. However, this Chicago suburb has a low risk of motor vehicle theft, earning it the “safest” designation.
5. Santa Clarita, California
Santa Clarita is the only city in our five safest places to have been rated “the safest” for the risk of your car being broken into. Although this city has the fourteenth lowest rate of fatal accidents per 100,000 population in our overall analysis, there is an average of 8.6 years between accidents in Santa Clarita – the same duration between accidents as in Detroit, the most dangerous city for drivers.
Top 20 Safest Cities for Drivers
Place your cursor in the table and scroll to see all the data.
Analysis of the country’s largest cities, according to US Census Bureau data, does not include four cities due to missing data on motor vehicle theft and auto theft. The final list of 196 cities excludes Port Lucie, Florida; Lakewood, Colorado; Pomona, California; and Miramar, Florida.
NerdWallet used the following data to analyze the safest and most dangerous cities for motorists:
- Fatal accident rates were determined from data from the 2014 NHTSA Death Analysis Reporting System and 2014 population figures United States Census Bureau. That’s 30% of the score.
- The accident probability compared to the national average (20% of the score) and the average years between accidents (20% of the score) are Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report 2015.
- Car theft (15% of score) and motor vehicle theft (15% of score) risk ratings were determined from NeighborhoodScoutthe proprietary data of. We used the data to create categories of “less secure”, “less secure”, “safe” and “more secure”.
- Average annual auto insurance rates of Nerdwallet were determined by averaging auto insurance quotes for eight driver profiles in each city’s zip codes. Profiles include: a 27-year-old single man and a single woman, and a 40-year-old married man and a married woman, each driving a Toyota Camry and a Ford Escape. 27-year-old drivers were given 30/60/10 liability limits (unless the state has higher property damage liability requirements) and required uninsured motorist coverage by the state. Drivers over the age of 40 have been assigned liability limits of 100/300/100 and coverage for uninsured motorists, as required by the state. All profiles have a full and collision deductible of $ 500. To determine the average rate for each city, we found the average insurance rate for the state’s largest carriers, selected carriers with the three cheapest averages, and averaged them.
Elizabeth Renter is a writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. E-mail: [email protected] Twitter: @ElizabethRenter.
Infographic by Jazeena Pineda