For the third consecutive year, Allstate reports that DC has the worst drivers in the nation. Except that the “worst drivers” label is not a fair conclusion from their study. Their primary metric is simply crash frequency. So while they can say “DC drivers crash more frequently than drivers in 199 other cities,” they have no basis to assign the blame. The rhetorical trick of calling it the “worst drivers” report gets headlines, but it also lets some people off the hook, such as:
- those responsible for planning, designing, and maintaining a safe roadway network;
- those responsible for educating drivers and setting standards for their licensure;
- those responsible for properly enforcing laws and ensuring that roadway behavior meets acceptable standards.
We have no interest in assigning blame here. But being the worst in the nation is a rather strong indication of a problem, and we are asking Mayor Gray to raise the priority of roadway safety and start working toward a solution.