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Distracted Driver Accidents | May 27, 2018

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Pittsburgh Drivers Are The Worst In The Country

Pittsburgh Drivers Are The Worst In The Country
Lauren Bennett

A C- may get you a passing grade in school – but it’s not a grade you want when concerning road and driver safety.

According to their 2017 Safe Driving Report, EverQuote Inc., an online insurance marketplace, rated Pittsburgh the lowest out of all cities studied in terms of driver safety and road behavior. Pittsburgh shares this spot with New York City – a notoriously dangerous and frustrating city when it comes to driving.

Other states rated highest in overall road safety were Montana, Wyoming, Alaska, North Dakota, and South Dakota, respectively – states with wide open terrain and lower populations. The lowest rated states were the smaller, more populated states of New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania Ratings

Pittsburgh earned a 71 out of 100 possible points on EverQuote’s safe driving scorecard – meaning the city barely passed the test. In comparison, Pittsburg fell eight points below the national average score of 79. The steel city earned its’ last place spot along with New York City, who also earned 71 points.

Pennsylvania fared slightly better than Pittsburgh with 73 points out of 100 on the safe driving scorecard – the third worst score in the U.S. Although the Keystone State bested the national average on phone usage, with only 37% of drivers using their phones on the road compared to 38% of drivers nationally, they came in behind in every other category:

  • 47% of Pennsylvania drivers speed compared to 36% nationally
  • 24% of Pennsylvania drivers accelerate too quickly compared to 21% nationally
  • 35% of Pennsylvania drivers brake too quickly compared to 32% nationally
  • 19% of Pennsylvania drivers make hard turns compared to 16% nationally

How Data Was Collected

Over a 12-month period, EverQuote collected data from 150,000 drivers across the country who use their iPhone and Android app. From April 6, 2016 until March 6, 2017, EverQuote tracked more than 2.7 million vehicle trips over 230 million miles. Among the factors EverQuote studied were:

  • Speeding
  • Cellphone use
  • Excess acceleration
  • Hard breaking
  • Hard turning

The app tracks these events and sends a report to the driver and any outside interested parties, such as parents, on the driver’s behavior behind the wheel. This can help insurers and concerned parents be aware of what the driver is doing when he or she is on the road.

Contributing Factors

One of the most notorious aspects of driving in Pittsburgh is something known as the “Pittsburgh left”. This practice – which is considered dangerous by some but “necessary” by others – involves a car turning left across oncoming traffic immediately following a green light instead of yielding as per the law.

Supporters of this act, including Mayor Bill Peduto, believe it’s a cherished Pittsburgh tradition and considered to be “polite” among the community while decongesting traffic. The left turn’s critics – typically those from outside the Pittsburgh area – believe the act is dangerous and leads to more car accidents.

Without a doubt, the Pittsburgh Left defies legality. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania traffic law states that left turning vehicles must yield to oncoming traffic when using an unprotected turn lane. But, residents and officials believe the ritual will continue to be practiced for years to come.

Other unique factors that could be a contributing factor to Pittsburgh’s last place status is that the city was built and developed before the invention of cars. During its development in the early 1800’s, Pittsburgh built their roads narrower than modern roads and weren’t developed in a way that could easily be updated to keep up with changing transportation methods. That combined with the many bridges and tunnels throughout the city – something that earned it the nickname “the city of bridges and tunnels” – lead to more congested roads that lead to a more dangerous driving environment.

Ways to Improve Bad Driving Habits

EverQuote produced this driving study to shed light on areas where drivers can improve and empower them to use the app to identify weak areas in their driving. All drivers have areas they can improve on – no matter how long they’ve been on the road. With the introduction of cell phones, faster cars, and more distractions than ever behind the wheel – traffic collisions are at an all-time high. Some techniques drivers can use to improve their driving are:

  • Put the cell phone down while driving – try keeping in your bag in the backseat or in the glove compartment, out of reach
  • Stay within the speed limit – remember that the left lane is the “passing lane” and should only be used to pass vehicles going below the speed limit
  • Be mindful of how quickly you accelerate – speeding up at a rapid pace while racing to get in front of a car on the free causes thousands of collisions a year and puts innocent lives at risk
  • Take your time coming to a stop – hard breaking typically occurs in congested traffic when all cars are at a “stop and go” pace – leave about 3 car lengths of space in between you and the car in front of you to ensure enough room to safely stop
  • Slow down when making turns – men are more likely to take a turn too sharp or fast than recommended than women – be sure to slow down to a safe and appropriate speed

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, especially in Pittsburgh where the drivers are “the worst” – it’s always best to contact a qualified injury attorney and figure out if you have a claim against the other party. Car accidents are completely preventable – yet tens of thousands of people are injured or killed by them each year. By identifying what areas of driving are the weakest, drivers are able to improve on habits that can quickly become fatal.

To see the full 2017 EverQuote Safe Driving Report, including rating from other states and a detailed report of Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh’s data, click here.

Comments

  1. Jeff

    Frankly, I am not surprised by the data. I was a driving instructor and a school teacher in the 90’s, and many of the same issues are still unresolved, and many new issues are being added. That polite left turn thing is a disaster waiting for someone to happen. Many locations, there are multiple lanes, and if I turn left because someone thinks they are polite and an oncoming vehicle did not get that memo because they are not from Pittsburgh, and when I get hit it is MY fault. And when I refuse to turn left when drivers think they are polite and get mad at me because there WAS an oncoming vehicle in the curb lane, they get mad at me and give me all kinds of disprespectful hand gestures.

    The features in new vehicles are more complex and more numerous also. It is bad enough that many have an electronic device stuck to their ear, or they are manipulating it and not looking where they are going, it is simply stated as a distracted driver. It is illegal for blind people to drive, so why is it legal for drivers with good vision to be using their electronic devices of many kinds and reasons, let alone the CD, DVD, and other features of their vehicle, while driving a 2 ton assault weapon?? Yes I said the vehicle them becomes an assault weapon that has killed more than a dozen, that I personally witnessed happen. This is a term I have used since the 1980’s so don’t get your knickers in a bunch and post obnoxious comments.

    I have more than 750,000 miles documented for many business purposes, and have witnessed many terrible crashes (and they weren’t accidents, they were easily avoidable) and most crashes, I did triage and did what I could to help the injured and dying until medics or fire rescue arrived. I learned all kinds of new terms, like deglove, eviscerate, decapitate, hostile amputation, and a few other terms. I learned to quickly determine if they were dead and I couldn’t help them, or if they were severely injured and needed immediate assistance. I also learned to tell if someone was in shock to keep them from exiting their vehicle , even though they told me they were fine, and walk into oncoming traffic that did not know what happened, hitting the gentleman. I will not go into detail what happens when someone is hit by a vehicle at highway speeds, or what the scene was for the 200 feet or so.

    With the new self driving vehicles, drivers will loose the skills they need to keep proficient, and when the technology fails to work, you know the driver will simply pretend they are proficient enough to operate their 2 ton assault weapon and lots of bad things will happen. Worse than my clients that had amputations due to health issues that needed to be trained for mobility controls, or my clients that were in Law Enforcement with head injuries and wounds, or my clients that had a stroke and need to use mobility controls and they all were aware that they did not have the skills they needed, are the people that are confident that they know what they are doing, right up to the point of impact.

    With the more complex features of new vehicles and with the availability of wireless devices, someone should get a backbone and require that drivers of all ages be retested every 5 years or so for on the road proficiency, and to keep a closer eye on teen drivers up to the age of 21 through random proficiency testing.

    My condolences to ANYONE that is effected by the senseless and horrific school shootings, and my deepest respect for anyone that deals with the aftermath of the horrible crimes committed by the perps, but are people any less maimed, mutilated, disfigured for life or are any of the fatality victims any less dead????? I have done rescue and recover, and tended to crash victims, not as my profession, but as another motorist that witnessed the carnage and could NOT keep driving. The injured people were friends, family, neighbors, or friend I had not met before the crash, so keep any insults or vile comments to yourself. Some of the crashes still haunt me 40 years later. I have learned to turn off all emotions to clearly think rationally when seconds count. Even to be able to describe the events clearly and rationally was help for law enforcement and for the family of the injured and deceased. Sometimes it helps to give closure to family members to have information for what happened, rather than vague guessing of what may or may not have happened. Hurting someones feelings is 100,000 times less painful that the lifetime of pain, or the loss of a loved one. I hope I am wrong, but I hope that the rates of incidents will not increase with so much technology available to drivers and more complex conditions as population increases and vehicle features increase. These aren’t the 1990’s driving conditions or simple features available in vehicles any more.

    Jeff.

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