Cyclists in every state know drivers can be buttheads (after all, cyclists are more likely to get killed in the U.S. than in any other OECD country — cheery!). But one region in particular earns the (dis)honor of having the nation’s worst drivers: the South.

Car Insurance Companion did a study using data from the National Highway Traffic Administration and MADD to come up with the 10 states with the worst drivers. The study factored in fatality rate, drunk driving, tickets, careless driving, and failure to obey issued citations for seat belts and the like. Seven of the 10 worst states are in the South, with Louisiana ranking No. 1.
Click to embiggen.
Click to embiggen.
Here are the 10 worst offenders:

  1. Louisiana
  2. South Carolina
  3. Mississippi
  4. Texas
  5. Alabama
  6. Florida
  7. Missouri
  8. North Carolina
  9. Montana
  10. North Dakota
And here are the 10 states with the best drivers (prepare to gloat). They tend to clump together in the Northeast and Northwest, with Vermont taking top bragging rights, despite more drunk driving than average:
  1. Vermont
  2. Utah
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Minnesota
  5. Oregon
  6. Maine
  7. Connecticut
  8. District of Columbia
  9. Iowa
  10. Massachusetts
One can question the accuracy of this study, as Massachusetts drivers are commonly called “Massholes,” but we digress.

As Richard Read of High Gear Media points out, the best explanation seems to be poverty rates, rather than states’ weather, booze, or teen licensing laws, “though even that isn’t a perfect match,” Read admits. Either way, Louisiana bikers better helmet up.