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Maryland drivers rank well overall, but not in drunk driving

It may not seem like it when you're driving around Baltimore or other parts of the state, but Maryland drivers are among the safest in the country. That's according to a recent report published by CarInsuranceComparison.com that ranks the worst drivers by state. The auto insurance website used National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data for 2017.

Maryland came in 41st among the worst drivers in 2017. Our neighbors in Virginia came in at 48. Washington, D.C. drivers were 34th.

The study rankings are based on overall fatality rates as well as fatality rates involving drunk driving, speeding, careless driving and non-compliance with laws regarding seat belt use, traffic signals and having a valid driver's license.

Maryland excelled above all other states and D.C. in that last category. Under Maryland law, failing to obey traffic signals, signs or road markings is considered aggressive driving. So are things like changing lanes, passing improperly, driving too close to the car ahead or too fast for road or weather conditions.

The careless driving category, where Maryland came in around the middle of the pack, was based on the number of pedestrians and bicyclists killed by drivers. An all-too-common reason for these fatal accident is distracted driving. According to the Maryland Department of Transportation, talking on the phone and texting, even though handheld phones are illegal in our state, are still among the primary types of distracted driving behavior.

The category where Maryland fared worst was drunk driving. We came in at ninth in the ranking of worst drivers when measured by the rate of fatal drunk driving crashes.

People often think that they're able to drive safely after a few drinks — but they aren't because their decision-making abilities and reflexes are compromised. Many drunk drivers get caught because they've engaged in one of the aggressive or otherwise illegal behaviors and gotten into an accident or otherwise attracted the attention of law enforcement.

If you are facing a DUI, the consequences here in Maryland can impact your life in multiple ways. Don't take your chances with the justice system without the guidance of an experienced Maryland DUI attorney.

Source: Annapolis Patch, "Worst Drivers: Maryland's Ranking In National Survey," Deb Belt, Jan. 11, 2018

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