If you’ve lived in Maryland your whole life, you may not have noticed how bad it is to drive in our state- but the rest of the country has! A new study released last month is showing the cost for driving in Maryland is far higher than a number of other states, and we’re not just talking about money.
Maryland Ranked 6th Worst Driving State
According to the 2018 Bankrate Best States for Drivers Study released this past December, Maryland was ranked the 6th worst driving state in the country, only succeeded by California, Hawaii, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Washington. Analyzing a number of factors including road safety, infrastructure quality, and driving costs, Maryland fell short overall in the ratings for each section:
- Safety Score: 7
- Cost Score: 7.05
- Driving Quality Score: 4.2
To put the scores in perspective, Maryland received a total rating of 18.25. The best state for drivers, North Dakota, received a total rating of 41. Using the most recent data across the United States from research organizations, government sources, and industry groups, here’s why motorists do not like to drive in Maryland.
Poor Road Conditions
Driving on Maryland roads is no easy task. In the Infrastructure Report Card for 2017 published by the American Society of Civil Engineering’s (ASCE), 24% of Maryland roads were considered in poor condition. Roads in poor condition may have dangerous hazards such as potholes, spills, erosion, uneven surfaces, missing guardrails, and more. These types of hazards can cost motorists hundreds of dollars a year in vehicle repairs. In addition, vehicle accidents are more prevalent on poorly kept roads, increasing the number of unnecessary traffic accidents causing injuries and fatalities.
Long Average Commute
Not only does the Bankrate study show that Marylanders are driving on bad roads, it indicates that they are on them for longer than they should be. In 2017, Maryland tied with New York for having the worst average commute time in the country, about 30 to 45 minutes each way to work. The more time you are on the roads, the higher your risk is of getting into an accident. It’s also more likely that drivers become aggressive and use dangerous maneuvers to get to work or home in time the longer they have to sit in traffic.
High Theft Rate
There were 773,139 vehicle thefts in the United States in 2017, according to a report by the Insurance Information Institute. The Bankrate study showed that 224.2 cars were stolen in Maryland per 100,000 residents. Baltimore ranked as the top city for vehicle theft in the state with 8,499 cars reported stolen in just 2017 alone.
High Traffic Fatality Rate
Even one traffic fatality is far too many and Maryland definitely had more than one. Analyzing the data from the most recent U.S. Department of Transportation Fatality Reporting System (FARS), the Bankrate study showed 550 traffic fatalities were reported in Maryland in 2017. The state was below the national average of traffic fatalities for that year (which was approximately 742), however, still far higher than the best driving state, North Dakota, which had 115 reported traffic fatalities.
High Auto Insurance Premiums
High rates of vehicle theft and increased numbers of insurance claims due to vehicle accidents only leads to another unpleasant consequence for Maryland drivers- higher insurance premiums. Using data collected from Insure.com, the Bankrate study shows the average auto insurance premium for Maryland car owners was $1,426 in 2018, above the national average of $1365 and ranking as the 18th highest in the country. North Dakota had an average insurance premium of $1,086, while the lowest insurance premium in the United States was Vermont at $932.
Something Has To Change
Marylanders are tired of paying both the financial and ultimate price for unsafe roads. State officials and legislators can make a huge impact on the safety of our motorists and pedestrians by starting with improving road conditions. Better roads can touch upon almost all of the issues drivers are complaining about in our state and reduce their risk on the roads immensely.