Gridlock Guy: Study shows Georgia among worse states for drivers

Gridlock updatesMark Arum’s column appears Mondays. Listen to his traffic reports daily on News 95.5 and AM750 WSB, and see him each morning on Channel 2 Action News. Connect with Mark on Twitter: @markarum.

I know this will come as a surprise to no one, but according to a recent study, Georgia is one of the worst states for drivers. The surprise is that the study didn’t just single out drivers in Atlanta and our low rating is not just because of bad traffic.

The data released by ranked Georgia as the 44th worst state for drivers in the United States. The rankings were based on commute times, insurance premiums, gasoline spending, vehicle repair costs, car thefts and frequency of fatal crashes.

The six states worse for drivers than Georgia were Louisiana, California, Texas, Maryland, New Jersey and Delaware.

The statistics for Georgia lay out like this:

  • Commute time: 26.3 minutes (each way). That is the seventh worst in the nation trailing top ranked Maryland at 30.3 minutes. The state with the lowest average commute time was Wyoming at 15.9 minutes.
  • Insurance premium: $920 (annual premium average over five years). Fifteen states have higher insurance premiums topped by Louisiana at $1,279 a year. Iowa drives pay the least for insurance at only $637 per annum.
  • Annual gasoline spending: $964. Georgia actually fares pretty well here, with our formerly lower than normal gas taxes. The state whose drivers spend the most annually in gas at $1,614 is Wyoming of all places. The cheapest state for gas was Florida at only $563 a year.
  • Vehicle repairs (cost per job): $431. The national average for this was $390, so Georgians pay a little more than normal for repairs. Delaware drivers pay the most per repair at $451. Wyoming is the cheapest for repairs at $309 per job.
  • Car thefts (per 100,000 people): 268.5. I couldn't believe that number. Doesn't it seem really high? I know car thefts are a big issue, but I didn't realize it was that bad. Georgia ranked seventh worst in car thefts, trailing the "leader" California with a staggering 431.2 thefts per 100,000 people. Cars seem to be the safest in Vermont where there are only 53.3 vehicles stolen per 100,000 people.
  • Fatal crashes (per 100 million miles driven): 1.1. That is the national average so Georgia is right in the middle of the pack there. Surprisingly, Montana tops the list with 2.0 fatal crashes per 100 million miles driven. Massachusetts has the lowest rate of fatal wrecks at 0.6 per 100 million miles driven.

The study culled statistics from the Insurance Office of Highway Safety, the FBI, CarMD, the Oil Price Information Service, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the U.S. Census Bureau.

If the Georgia stats have you feeling down and you think you might want to move to another state, the five best states for drivers are Idaho, Vermont, Wyoming, Wisconsin and Minnesota.