There are a lot of things a city can pride itself on. For example, delicious culinary delights, stunning architecture, unique music, or athletic prowess. For some cities, even superior driving ability including low car accidents and DUIs is a bragging right. Unfortunately, Knoxville will not be able to claim that last title. In fact, one study has named the city in its top 10 for bad drivers; however the Knoxville Police Department is disputing that title.
The study, from NerdWallet, ranked cities across the United States on drunk driving, fatal car accidents, and car insurance rates and in the end found Knoxville severely lacking (Wright, 2014). Within the top 10, Knoxville came in 6th place. The study used data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which shows 31 alcohol related crashes in Knoxville between the years of 2010 and 2012, which is 3 times higher than the national average (Wright, 2014).
However, local police officers are questioning the findings of the study and saying the numbers simply don’t add up. They take drinking and driving very seriously. Ultimately, Public Information Officer Darrell DeBusk does not agree with Knoxville’s ranking but he does acknowledge “factors like being a college town means more people will be drinking” (Wright, 2014).
It is important to remember that it isn’t just the police who should be stopping drunk driving. It is the public and the individual’s responsibility as well. For example, anyone heading out for a night of fun should be sure to establish a designated driver beforehand. Little things like that can help Knoxville avoid the top 10 bad drivers list next time around. Another study, from carinsurancecomparison.com, looks at states instead of cities to find the worst drivers in the nation. Where did Tennessee come in? Well, the state didn’t make the top 10 states with the worst drivers but it came close coming in at number 13. This study gave each state a score in the following five categories and then one overall score to determine the state’s final ranking:
- Fatalities Rate per 100 Million Vehicle Miles Traveled
- Failure to Obey (Traffic Signals + Seat Belts)
- Drunk Driving
- Careless Driving
So maybe it isn’t just Knoxville that could benefit from brushing up on the rules of the road and gaining some additional education on drinking and driving.