Virginia’s dumb drivers


GMAC Insurance recently released the results of a nationwide survey that tested drivers’ knowledge of the roads, and it’s not pretty, Virginia. Virginia ranked 41st in the nation, with 26 percent of Virginia drivers failing the thing outright. The list of states who fared worse than Virginia is a motley crew of Bostonians, Jerseyites and New Yorkers. Even Florida, home to the highest per capita rate in the world of old people accidentally driving their Lincoln Towncars into the dining area of Bob’s Big Boy, performed better on the test than Virginia. Idaho, meanwhile, has the most knowledgeable drivers in the country, which is no small feat given the lack of pedestrians or other cars or anywhere to go.

The test was a 20-question survey meant to be a representative sample of DMV tests from all over the country. The fact that Virginians scored, on average, 75.4 percent on the test, with 70 percent required just to pass, means that it is all but a statistical certainty that the guy in the next car thinks an orange traffic cone means “candy corn ahead.” We did the math. But we also wanted to see if the stats bore this out locally.

According to the DMV’s Virginia Driving Trends report, there were 3,713 crashes in 2005 in Albemarle and Charlottesville, an area with 88,401 licensed drivers. That’s 24 drivers per accident in our area, compared to about 30 drivers for every accident in the U.S. as a whole. That’s not so good.

So hit the books. If those militiamen out in Boise can maintain a safe following distance, so can we.

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