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Texas ranks high for safe drivers, but more needs to be done

Allstate has just released its 14th annual America's Best Drivers Report, which ranks the 200 largest U.S. cities on the frequency of car crashes. The rankings, which are based on Allstate claims data, also calculate how the likelihood of each city's residents to be in car crashes compared the average U.S. driver. American drivers, on average, are in a car crash every ten years or so.

The top-ranked city was Brownsville, where residents are 26.3 percent less likely to be in a car crash than the national average, meaning that a Brownsville resident is likely to be involved in a collision about once every 13.6 years.

Three other Texas cities made the top ten for safe driving. Laredo was ranked 6th, Midland was ranked 7th, and McAllen was 10th. Even with the city in 10th place, the average McAllen driver is 13.4 percent less likely than the national average to be in a car wreck, with an average of 11.5 years between crashes.

The report has also ranks cities on the frequency of hard-braking events -- where a driver slows down at least eight miles per hour over a one-second period. These are thought to indicate that a driver is following too closely, driving too aggressively, or is distracted.

Many Allstate customers participate in a telemetric driver tracking program called Drivewise. Allstate used data from the Drivewise program to rank cities based on the frequency of hard-braking events per 1,000 miles driven. In cities with a lower average of hard-braking events tend to have lower auto property damage claims, according to Allstate.

The cities with the lowest average hard-braking events per 1,000 miles were Sioux Falls, South Dakota, with 12.9 hard-braking events per 1,000 miles, followed by Madison, Wisconsin, Anchorage, Alaska, Spokane, Washington, and Des Moines, Iowa, with 14.1 events per 1,000 miles. No Texas cities made the top 5 on the hard-braking test.

It's always good to see our peer cities in Texas ranking high for good driving. However, the National Safety Council recently released preliminary data estimating that the U.S. is on track to reach 40,000 fatal traffic crashes this year. Although that number is in line with a three-year trend, it is still completely shocking and unacceptable.

We all need to do more to bring down the number of serious and fatal motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. We should all be focusing on avoiding impairment and distraction and on being more vigilant on the road. We need to wear seatbelts and take advantage of vehicle safety technology whenever possible. We can also hold bad drivers accountable for the harm they cause through personal injury lawsuits.

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