Boston Worse Than Washington in Ranking of Riskiest Drivers

Aug 26, 2014 8:32 am ET

(Updates with New York, Los Angeles, in seventh paragraph.)

Aug. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Drivers in Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts, are the most accident-prone in the U.S., landing at the bottom of an annual ranking of the nation’s 200 biggest urban areas by Allstate Corp.

Worcester’s drivers have a collision every 4.3 years on average, while motorists in Boston go 4.4 years between crashes, the Northbrook, Illinois-based insurer said today in a report. Washington, D.C., which had finished last in six straight Allstate reports, was third-worst with drivers there having a wreck every 5.1 years.

Allstate analyzes its claim data to come up with the annual rankings to emphasize safe-driving habits. Today’s report included data from January 2011 to December 2012. The largest publicly traded U.S. auto and home insurer said city drivers contend with safety issues related to population density.

“Pedestrians, emergency vehicles, delivery trucks, parking cars, taxi cabs and public-transportation vehicles such as city buses” are among the potential obstacles facing drivers in urban locations, Allstate said in a statement.

Fort Collins, Colorado, led the ranking for safety a fourth time and has placed in the top 10 every year, Allstate said. Its motorists average 14.2 years between collisions, a rate that makes them 29.6 percent less likely to crash than the national average.

Massachusetts cities hadn’t been included in Allstate’s report in recent years because the insurer didn’t sell policies there. The company, which sells about 10 percent of U.S. auto policies, began offering the coverage again in Massachusetts in 2009, after exiting the state’s market in 1989. Allstate has conducted the studies for 10 years.

New York, the nation’s most-populous city, placed 155th for safety with accidents occurring every 7.8 years. Los Angeles ranked 188th, and Chicago was 139th.

Seventy percent of vehicles involved in claims reviewed by Allstate were still drivable, indicating the collisions occurred at speeds of less than 35 miles (56 kilometers) an hour, the insurer said. More than 33,500 people died in U.S. crashes in 2012, an increase of about 3.3 percent from the prior year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on its website.