10 April 2007
Swinging down the lane
Ja'Rena Lunsford at the Oklahoman seemed surprised at the results of a data dump by Men's Health that gave Oklahoma City's drivers a D, ranking 74th of 100 cities. Lunsford was especially critical of the third-place ranking given the City of New York, observing:
I've only been to New York a handful of times, but that was long enough to realize that city shouldn't be getting any accolades for good driving. If I recall correctly, I had a near death experience in a cab while I was trying to get to LaGuardia International Airport.
I've driven very little in the Big Apple, but I think Lunsford is underestimating their mad driving skillz: the fact that traffic moves at all struck me, in the middle of it one day, as well-nigh miraculous.
Of course, like all drivers, I consider myself above average. (And at least I have one piece of evidence to back me up: no moving violations in the past quarter-century.)
On a possibly-related note, some months back, Car and Driver put out some research of their own, in an effort to determine which states were most driver-friendly. I duly downloaded their 800k spreadsheet worth of data, and discovered Oklahoma right near the middle: 22nd place. (Alaska, a wide-open space indeed, took first; the District of Columbia was dead last.) The Sooner State picked up points for relatively low levels of traffic and for higher-than-average speed limits, and lost points for very high truck traffic and for below-average pavement quality (which, as Tom Elmore reminds us, is a direct result of very high truck traffic). And C/D editor Csaba Csere has a very Lunsford-like response to one of his data points:
Driving is safer than it's ever been, but there are still substantial differences among the states. In Mississippi, the highway death rate was 2.28 fatalities per 100 million vehicle-miles driven. In Massachusetts, it was barely a third of that, at 0.87. I suspect this says more about the higher willingness of Massachusetts drivers to buckle up than it does about their inherent driving talent, which was not obvious when I went to college in that state three decades ago.
Boston drivers in the Men's Health report placed 34th, scoring B-minus. Last time I drove through Boston, I remember thinking I'd rather be in New York.Posted at 10:10 AM to Driver's Seat