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Downhill trend: Spokane plunges in Allstate driver rankings

August 31, 2018

Spokane’s drivers aren’t that great, and they’re getting worse.

As Americans prepare for what may be the last great road trip of the 2018 summer this Labor Day weekend, Allstate released its annual “America’s Best Drivers Report,” which details just how good – or bad – American motorists are.

Here in Spokane, we’re bad. Out of the 200 cities on the list, Spokane fell the furthest over the past year – 37 places, from 66th to 103rd. That continues the Lilac City’s slide, having fallen 12 spots the year before. Though it now hovers near the list’s median line, no other city has tanked as much as Spokane over the same period. Miami went up 37 places this year, to come in at 86th. Spokane did so poorly that Forbes told its readers to “steer clear” of the city; the Los Angeles Times suggested the same.

The insurance giant calculated its ranking based on insurance claims in the nation’s 200 largest cities. An average driver files one insurance claim once every 10 years. With that yardstick, Spokane fares OK, its motorists filing a claim once every eight years, on average. Add in the entire metropolitan area, which includes Spokane Valley, and we fare much better, with a claim once every 12 years.

So congrats to the Valley on such safe driving. And Spokane, you have nobody to blame but the person behind the wheel, because 94 percent of all traffic incidents leading to insurance claims are caused by driver error, according to Allstate.

Of course, there are worse cities to drive in than Spokane. Baltimore, Boston, Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle are all worse. Baltimore, at the very bottom of the lists, saw its motorists file a claim once every 3.8 years.

What’s happening here? Why is Spokane just four spots ahead of New York City? Are we really worse than Denver and Honolulu?

Maybe it’s the resistance local motorists have to the “late merge,” or to the increasingly ubiquitous roundabouts. Maybe it’s the poor design of some of our roadways, like the Walnut Street on-ramp to eastbound I-90, or the currently tangled intersections surrounding the downtown Spokane Public Library.

Whatever it is, we’re no Boise, which continues its climb up Allstate’s list, ranking in third place this year, behind top-ranked Brownsville, Texas, and Kansas City, Kansas.

To borrow Allstate’s slogan: The automobiles out there under control of increasingly dangerous Spokane drivers are not in good hands.

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