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Jun-15-2007 05:15printcomments

Report: South Dakota, Michigan, and Colorado Have Safest Drivers

In Oregon, Eugene had the best drivers coming in at #17.

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Photo: Kevin Hays

(NORTHBROOK, Ill.) - It's no fluke, residents of Sioux Falls, S.D., maintained their status as the safest drivers in the U.S., according to the third annual "Allstate America's Best Drivers Reportâ„¢."

The average driver in Sioux Falls will experience an auto collision every 13.7 years.

Compared to the national likelihood of a driver experiencing a crash every 10 years -- Sioux Falls motorists are 27 percent less likely to get into a car accident.

"The fact that Sioux Falls drivers retained the standing as America's safest drivers for two years in a row is an accomplishment for which all Sioux Falls residents should be proud," says Sioux Falls Mayor Dave Munson. "The quality of our community driver education programs combined with the careful consideration of our traffic engineering department goes a long way to make our roadways safe for everyone."

Parked in the runner-up position for the second consecutive year is Fort Collins, Colo. Motorists in Fort Collins experience a car crash every 13.6 years, on average.

For the past three years, Allstate actuaries have conducted an in-depth analysis of company claim data to determine the likelihood of drivers in America's 200 largest cities to experience a vehicle collision compared to the national average.

Allstate's auto policies represent about 12 percent of the U.S. population, making this report a realistic snapshot of what's happening on America's roadways.

"The primary purpose of this study is to elevate the safe driving discussion by sharing Allstate's report regarding motorists' driving habits with the public. We hope that our findings can help shed light on communities with drivers that could be more tolerant and attentive behind the wheel as well as provide a platform to recognize cities with drivers that have collectively improved over time," says Mike Roche, senior vice president, Allstate's Claim Organization.

America's Most-Improved Motorists:

This year, Allstate's best drivers report delivers a new category and recognizes "America's Most Improved-Motorists."

Allstate compared all three years of report data to identify cities with the most-improved drivers since 2005.

A flock of Michigan cities landed in the top five slots, these include: Sterling Heights, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Warren and in first place, Flint.

With remarkable progress, Flint improved its average years between accidents from 9.8 years in 2005 to 13.4 years or 25.4 percent better than the national medium in 2007, and leaped from the number 73 spot in 2005 to number three overall in 2007 in three years.

City & Overall Ranking 2005-2007 Increase in Years between Accidents:

3. Flint, Mich. 3.6 4. Warren, Mich. 3.2 24. Grand Rapids, Mich. 2.8 25. Detroit 2.7 12. Sterling Heights, Mich. 2.3 54. Aurora, Colo. 1.8 16. Lexington-Fayette, Ky. 1.7 140. Yonkers, N.Y. 1.3 187. Arlington, Va. 1.3 191. Alexandria, Va. 1.2

"We've seen a nearly continual decrease in crashes statewide in Michigan in the last 10 years, including a 54 percent decrease in serious injury crashes -- that's 9,000 fewer seriously injured people in 2006 compared to 1996. This progress in crash reduction is evident also in the statistics for the five cities highlighted in this report by Allstate," explains David Morena, Safety and Traffic Engineer Federal Highway Administration, Lansing, Mich.

"We attribute this reduction in the overall number and severity of crashes to a combination of positive actions taken by the agencies that promote traffic safety: safety legislation, such as primary seat belt law and graduated licensing for our younger drivers; road infrastructure and operational improvements, and safety features that vehicle manufacturers are designing for the vehicles themselves," says Morena.

"Finally, we also cannot ignore the probability of some contribution from the state's economy to lower auto collisions. Trends have shown that when our Michigan economy is in a downturn, auto crashes tend to reduce as well," says Morena.

The Top 10:

Drivers from Sioux Falls didn't yield their number one slot in this year's report.

However, Michigan, Tennessee and Colorado stand out as also being home to some of the country's safest drivers.

Two cities from each state are parked in the top 10 on Allstate's list -- consistent with report findings over its three-year history.

Midwestern drivers also appear to heed the safety call.

Four out of the 10 top cities are in America's heartland, according to the report.

Rank/City Collision Likelihood Compared to National Average Average Years Between Collisions:
1. Sioux Falls, S.D. 27.2% less likely 13.7
2. Fort Collins, Colo. 26.2% less likely 13.6
3. Flint, Mich. 25.4% less likely 13.4
4. Warren, Mich. 25.0% less likely 13.3
5. Huntsville, Ala. 23.6% less likely 13.1
6. Knoxville, Tenn. 22.8% less likely 13.0
7. Chattanooga, Tenn. 22.7% less likely 12.9
8. Colorado Springs, Colo. 21.3% less likely 12.7
9. Milwaukee, Wisc. 21.0% less likely 12.7
10. Des Moines, Iowa 20.5% less likely 12.6

2007 Competent Commuters by Population

Cities with More Than One Million Residents:

For the third consecutive year, drivers in Phoenix, Ariz., are the safest big city commuters according to Allstate.

Phoenix motorists can expect to bump into another vehicle on the roadway every 9.8 years -- slightly more frequent than the national average.

Rank/City Collision Likelihood Compared to National Average Average Years Between Collisions:
78. Phoenix 2.0% more likely 9.8
116. San Diego 10.9% more likely 9.0
160. San Antonio 23.0% more likely 8.1
163. Houston 23.9% more likely 8.1
169. New York 27.0% more likely 7.9
178. Dallas 29.7% more likely 7.7
183. Chicago 34.4% more likely 7.4
185. Los Angeles 44.7% more likely 6.9
190. Philadelphia 51.9% more likely 6.6

Cities with 500,000 to One Million Residents:

Milwaukee drivers topped the list of safest drivers in mid-sized cities with populations between 500,000 to 1,000,000 residents. While this is the third consecutive year that the Wisconsin city has claimed this honor, Milwaukee drivers experience a car accident once every 12.7 years on average, 21 percent less likely than the average driver.

Drivers located in the top 10 cities in this break-out list for mid-sized cities are above average, level-headed drivers when compared to the average driver.

Rank/City Collision Likelihood Compared to National Average Average Years Between Collisions:
9. Milwaukee 21.0% less likely 12.7
25. Detroit 13.5% less likely 11.6
28. Louisville, Ky. 13.0% less likely 11.5
33. Memphis, Tenn. 11.1% less likely 11.2
36. Nashville, Tenn. 9.8% less likely 11.1
39. Denver 8.4% less likely 10.9
50. Indianapolis 5.0% less likely 10.5
55. Tucson, Ariz. 3.8% less likely 10.4
56. El Paso, Texas 3.5% less likely 10.4
57. Oklahoma City 3.4% less likely 10.4

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.