Sacramento drivers are among worst in U.S., study says. Why ‘things are looking up’

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There is some bad news and some good news for Sacramento drivers.

The good news is that the city’s drivers are no longer ranked as the worst in the country, according to Insurance news site Quote Wizard. The bad news is Sacramento’s drivers still ranked as third worst, getting the nod over Riverside and Omaha, Neb.

The study, released Thursday, ranked cities based on traffic incidents — including accidents, speeding tickets and DUIs — and citations, including tickets for behaviors like distracted driving.

Why the improvement for Sacramento? The study suggests drivers could have been inspired by last year’s rank, as well as a decrease in some of the categories tracked.

“Things are looking up in Sactown,” the report said. “Last year’s worst-driving city is now only a distant third! A drop in speeding and accidents improved Sacramento’s overall driving score, even though they stayed relatively static in terms of DUIs and violations.”

The study’s findings about DUIs show that a crackdown by the California Highway Patrol may not have helped as much as officers had hoped, at least in Sacramento.

Other California locales in the top 10 include the “San Francisco Bay Area” at No. 5, San Diego at No. 6 and Los Angeles at No. 9. Bakersfield and Fresno also made the list of 75 cities, ranking No. 12 and No. 24, respectively.

Omaha, which went from No. 8 to No. 1 this year, was said to have the worst drivers because of “sizeable increases in accidents, speeding, and driving violations.” Riverside moved from No. 3 to No. 2 thanks to “a higher DUI rate than any other city,” the report said.

In contrast, the cities that ranked as the five best were Orlando, Fla., Miami, El Paso, Texas, Detroit and Little Rock, Ark. The report attributed “rock-bottom DUI and speeding rates” to Orlando’s top spot.

According to Quote Wizard, the study is released in the summer months because July and August are the deadliest of the year due to an increase in drivers on the road as people tend to travel more. Quote Wizard’s study is also conducted because, according to the site, bad drivers can drive up the costs of insurance in the state.

Quote Wizard is not the only group studying good and bad drivers in Sacramento and California, and has quite different opinions on the matter in some cases.

In a similar study, Wallet Hub listed Sacramento at No. 53 in its ranking of the best large U.S. cities to drive in for 2018.

Top 10 worst drivers in America for 2018

1. Omaha, Neb.

2. Riverside

3. Sacramento

4. Columbus, Ohio

5. San Francisco Bay Area

6. San Diego

7. Charlotte, N.C.

8. Portland, Ore.

9. Los Angeles

10. Salt Lake City

Take a look back at the development, construction and opening of Interstate 5, the freeway that transformed downtown Sacramento. Photos are from the Center for Sacramento History - taken by Bee photographers - and the Caltrans archives.

Ride along in this 360 degree video with Kenny Grady of Mt. Olive as he competes in the Goodguys Demolition Derby at the NC State Fairgrounds in Raleigh Saturday, April 28, 2018. Grady is driving a 2002 Crown Victoria.

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