The average American spends more than 18 hours in an automobile each week, which equates to over 17 percent of his or her waking hours, according to data from Nielsen and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That alone spells risk not only because the odds of an accident increase with the number of miles we drive, but also because the more time-crunched we are, the more likely we are to attempt multitasking or otherwise drive recklessly.
In addition to endangering fellow motorists, bad behavior on the road can have costly consequences for your wallet. So in the interest of encouraging health, happiness and WalletFitness, WalletHub independently assessed how tough states are on DUI, speeding and reckless driving as well as the corresponding insurance cost increases that high-risk drivers can expect. This information enabled us to formulate a hierarchy of state strictness, which you can find below, followed by expert commentary and a detailed methodology.
|State||Total Score||DUI Criminal Penalties|
|Reckless Driving Penalties|
|Average Increase in Cost of Insurance|
|43||District of Columbia||27.75||30||50||10||16||42|
Red vs. Blue
Ask The Experts: The Future Of Risky Driving
Advances in technology and new transportation options for consumers have the potential to improve highway safety. To understand what’s coming and how that might affect drivers, we consulted a panel of transportation experts. Click on their profiles below to read their bios and insights on the following key questions:
- Technologies being developed for autonomous vehicles are making their way into today’s cars. Many automakers offer adaptive cruise control and lane keeping, and Ford is launching an “intelligent speed limiter” that will automatically keep the car under posted speed limits. Will these systems help reduce high-risk driving?
- The spread of ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft have made hiring a ride more convenient than ever, and they give consumers new transportation options in high-risk situations like when they have been drinking. Has this reduced the incidence of high-risk driving?
- Young drivers tend to take more risks than motorists with more experience behind the wheel. Have states’ new graduated drivers licensing requirements helped reduce risky driving by teens?
- What can average motorists do to protect themselves from high-risk drivers on the road?
Ask the Experts
To measure the strictness of states’ laws for high-risk drivers, WalletHub independently assessed how tough states are on DUI, speeding and reckless driving as well as the insurance costs for different types of high-risk drivers. To get an overall impression of each state’s treatment of risky drivers, we combined the results of these three reports to obtain a final ranking for each state, according to the following rubric. The highest scores correlate to the strictest states.
- DUI Criminal Penalties
States could score up to 35 points if they met the correct criteria
- DUI Prevention
States could score up to 20 points if they met the correct criteria
- Speeding Enforcement
States could score up to 14 points if they met the correct criteria
- Reckless Driving Penalties
States could score up to 16 points if they met the correct criteria
- Average Increase in Cost of Insurance
Because “Average Increase in Cost of Insurance” was included in the methodologies of the DUI and speeding & reckless driving, we’ve only accounted for the average premium increase for the following scenarios: Reckless driving conviction, 2 accidents in the last 2 years and Driving with a suspended license
Above 75% (6 points)
60% – 74.99% (4 points)
45% - 59.99% (2 points)
30% - 44.99% (1 point)
Below 30% (0 points)
Total points = 91