Minnesotans ride high on list of nation's best drivers

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Well, we don't lean on the horn for every transgression like they do out east, or lock down the cruise control at 85 miles per hour like they do out west.

But really? Minnesota drivers are some of the best in the nation?

That's not an opinion, according to a new report cited by WCCO: It's a fact.

The station's story quotes the the website carinsurancecomparison.com, which ranked Minnesota as having the nation's fourth-best drivers in the country. The ranking was determined by crunching numbers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the National Motorists Association, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving. It analyzed data involving fatality rates, drunk driving, tickets, careless driving and seat belt usage.

In the Star Tribune, writer Kim Ode took a bit of a skeptical tone with the findings. She notes drivers who are new to Minnesota "can’t stop complaining about the way we drive."

But her story finds the rating makes sense to Brad Estochen of the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s traffic safety division.

“In general, we’re pretty conservative drivers,” Estochen said. “We don’t have the aggression you might get on the East Coast, the swagger of a New York cabdriver. We’re a more passive type of driver.”

The Star Tribune story breaks down the evidence, which finds Minnesota in second place in the category of fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. For careless driving, determined by pedestrian and bicyclist fatality rates per 100,000 residents, we’re the seventh-safest. And our seat belt use is almost 94 percent.

In the not-so-hot categories, Minnesota ranks 19th in drunken driving arrests and 26th for the number of speeding tickets per capita.

Topping the list of top drivers is the state of Vermont, followed by Utah and New Hampshire. The worst drivers in the country, according to the survey, are those in Louisiana.

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