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Who Ranks Best Behind The Wheel?

Inaugural "Allstate America's Best Drivers Report" Reveals Cities with Safest Drivers

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06/07/2005 - NORTHBROOK, Ill.

Residents of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, rank as the safest drivers in the U.S. according to the Allstate Insurance Company's (NYSE: ALL) inaugural "America's Best Drivers Report."

The first-of-its kind ranking of U.S. cities with populations 100,000-plus, revealed that the average driver in the central Iowa city will experience an auto collision every 15 years, compared to the national likelihood of a crash every 10 years - making them 33.28 percent less likely to have an accident than the national average.

Allstate researchers analyzed internal data to determine the likelihood drivers in America's largest 196 cities would experience an auto collision compared to the national average.

"As one of the country's largest insurers, Allstate is uniquely positioned to present this significant report," said Daryll Fletcher, Vice President in charge of data and research at Allstate. "This wealth of data enables Allstate to salute America's best drivers and recognize their safe driving skills, which make all of our communities safer places to live, work and raise families."

Cedar Rapids city officials were not shocked that the city ranked high on the list.

"With the majority of crashes occurring within five miles of the home, it's reassuring that our residents are the safest," said Paul Pate, Cedar Rapids' mayor. "The quality of our community's driver education programs combined with the consideration of our Traffic Engineering department goes a long way to make our roadways safe for everyone. We thought we'd make the list, but we never realized we'd be No. 1 in the country."

The Top 10
Drivers across Iowa, Tennessee and Colorado shine as the nation's safest, as two cities from each state rank among the top 10 with the safest drivers, according to the report.


Collision Likelihood Compared
to National Average
Average Years
Between Collisions
1. Cedar Rapids, Iowa
33.3% less likely
2. Sioux Falls, S.D.
27.4% less likely
3. Chattanooga, Tenn.
27.2% less likely
4. Huntsville, Ala.
23.8% less likely
5. Knoxville, Tenn
23.8% less likely
6. Des Moines, Iowa
21.5% less likely
7. Topeka, Kan.
20.6% less likely
8. Lakewood. Colo.
19.7% less likely
9. Fort Collins, Colo.
19.4% less likely
10. Burmingham, Ala.
19.3% less likely

"What makes this report from Allstate valuable is that it is based on real world collision data from actual drivers," said Allan Williams, the recently retired chief scientist and researcher at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "Also, Allstate's auto policies represent about 12 percent of the U.S. population, making this report a realistic snapshot of what's happening on America's roadways."

Additional "Road" Scholars
Drivers in U.S. cities with populations of one million-plus are more likely than the national average to experience a collision. Phoenix, the top-ranked city in this category, mirrors the national collision average of one accident every 10 years.


Collision Likelihood Compared
to National Average
Average Years
Between Collisions
64. Phoenix
0.4% more likely
111. San Diego
10.3% more likely
121. Houston
28.6% more likely
167. San Antonio
28.9% more likely
169. New York City
30.3% more likely
173. Chicago
52.2% more likely
177. Los Angeles
38.3% more likely
180. Dallas
39.3% more likely
182. Philadelphia
46.2% more likely

According to the report, Milwaukee drivers will experience a collision approximately every 11.5 years and rank as the safest of the metros with populations between 500,000 and one million residents.

Collision Likelihood Compared
to National Average
Average Years
Between Collisions
17. Milwaukee
13% less likely
18. Memphis, Tenn.
12.7% less likely
23. Nashville, Tenn.
12.1% less likely
47. El Paso, Texas
5.3% less likely
52. Oklahoma City
3.4% less likely
53. Tucson, Ariz.
2.8% less likely
60. Indianapolis
1% less likely
72. Denver
2.2% more likely
86. Jacksonville, Fla.
4.6% more likely
97. Portland, Ore.
8% more likely

Secrets to Safety

"Many factors contribute to how cities rank in the report," said Williams. "Some factors - demographic makeup, commuting patterns and city design - cannot be changed; others, like smart traffic engineering and strong law enforcement initiatives, can help to prevent crashes in metropolitan areas."


Cedar Rapids is taking a serious and proactive approach to roadway improvements and law enforcement, city safety commissioner and police officer Dave Zahn said.

"Our traffic engineers work hand-in-hand with the community members to minimize traffic congestion and collision frequency," Zahn said. "For example, we recently expanded a 15 block strip of Mt. Vernon Road, one of our busier streets, from four lanes to five. Since its completion, collisions are down 66 percent on that stretch of road."

Zahn also pointed to Cedar Rapid's courteous driving style as a reason for the city's top ranking. He outlined lessons that all drivers could learn from Cedar Rapids residents.

  • Signs mean something- Traffic signs are here to help us. "Yield, stop and school zone speed limits are meant to be followed, not ignored," Zahn said.
  • Respect sirens- "Pull over to the side of the road when you see emergency vehicles," Zahn said. "I always tell people ‘You never know. You may be the one in the back of that ambulance some day.'"
  • Yellow really does mean caution- Slow down - don't speed up - when approaching a yellow light, Zahn stressed.
  • Speeding gets you nowhere fast- "Exceeding the speed limit won't get you to your destination any faster," Zahn said. "The few minutes you save you'll lose sitting at the next red light anyway.".
  • Courteousness matters on the road, too - "Treat those you share the road with the same as you would your friends, family and co-workers," commented Zahn.

The Math Behind the Rankings
To create the report, Allstate researchers analyzed internal property damage claims over a two-year period (from January, 2002 to December, 2003) to ensure the findings would not be impacted by external influences such as weather or road construction. A weighted average of the two-year numbers determined the annual percentages. The report defines an auto crash as any collision resulting in property damage.

Crashes Happen
According to, more crashes occur on Saturdays than any other day of the week. Friday ranked second and Thursday came in third. Collisions are least likely to occur on Sundays. Collisions are most likely to happen between 3 and 6 p.m. From 6 and 9 p.m. ranked second and 9 p.m. - midnight finished third. The fewest crashes occur between midnight and 3 a.m.

For the complete listing of all U.S. cities with 100,000-plus residents ranked in the Allstate report, download the PDF.

The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer. Widely known through the "You're In Good Hands With Allstate®" slogan, Allstate helps individuals in approximately 17 million households protect what they have today and better prepare for tomorrow through approximately 13,600 exclusive agencies and financial professionals in the U.S. and Canada. Customers can access Allstate products and services such as auto insurance and homeowners insurance through Allstate agencies, or in select states at and 1-800 Allstate®. EncompassSM and Deerbrook® Insurance brand property and casualty products are sold exclusively through independent agents. Allstate Financial Group provides life and supplemental accident and health insurance, annuity, banking and retirement products designed for individual, institutional and worksite customers that are distributed through Allstate agencies, independent agencies, financial institutions and broker-dealers.

Note: The Allstate data excludes cities in the state of Massachusetts, where Allstate Insurance Company does not offer insurance products.

Bill Mellander, Allstate Media Relations, (847) 402-5600

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