published Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Chattanooga motorists average 11 percent fewer accidents

Traffic on I-24 stalls through downtown Chattanooga due to a wreck.
Traffic on I-24 stalls through downtown Chattanooga due to a wreck.
Photo by John Rawlston.

ALLSTATE RANKINGS

Safest driving cities — go west

• 1. Fort Collins, Colo.

• 2. Boise, Idaho

• 3. Sioux Fall, Idaho

Accident-prone cities — on the East coast

• 1. Washington, D.C.

• 2. Baltmore, Md.

• 3. Providence, R.I.

Source: Allstate Insurance annual Best Drivers Report for 2013.

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Chattanooga drivers have 11 percent fewer accidents than the national average, helping to score Chattanooga among the safer cities for motorists on the road, according to a new study by Allstate Insurance Co.

On average, the typical Chattanooga motorist has an accident once every 11.1 years. Nationwide, the average driver gets in an accident once every 10 years.

Chattanooga ranked as the 31st best city for driving safety among the 200 cities included in the Allstate America's Best Drivers Report. Although down from its 26th place showing a year ago, Chattanooga still ranked as the second safest city in Tennessee in the 2012 Allstate study, behind only Knoxville, which ranked as the 12th safest driving city after placing 9th in the previous year.

"We've slipped just a bit, but both Chattanooga and Knoxville are among the safer driving cities in the country," said Allison Hatcher, a spokesman for Allstate in Nashville.

Motorists in Nashville and Memphis have slightly more accidents, on average, than the U.S. as a whole, Hatcher said.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that traffic fatalities in 2012 rose by 5.3 percent to 34,080 -- the first such annual increase since 2005.

While fatalities increased last year, Allstate research showed that 70 percent of vehicles involved in auto claims are considered drivable.

"The most frequent collisions happen during minor fender-bender, but it's important to keep in mind that even lower-speed accidents can have serious outcomes," said Mike Roche, Allstate's senior vice president of claims.

Hatcher said safer drivers get better insurance rates, but geography is only a small portion of calculating insurance rates, which are largely based upon the vehicle driven and the motorist's driving record.

Allstate, the second largest automobile insurer in the country, ranks America's 200 largest cities in terms of car collision frequency to identify which cities have the safest drivers.

The safest drivers last year were in Fort Collins, Colo., the home of Colorado State University and the Fat Tire line of microbrews. In Fort Collins, which has been the safest driving city in the annual Allstate study for each of the past three years, motorists go an average of 13.9 years between accidents.

The most dangerous city for automobile accidents last year was Washington D.C., where drivers go just 4.8 years between accidents.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 757-6340.

about Dave Flessner...

Dave Flessner is the business editor for the Times Free Press. A journalist for 35 years, Dave has been business editor and projects editor for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, city editor for The Chattanooga Times, business and county reporter for the Chattanooga Times, correspondent for the Lansing State Journal and Ingham County News in Michigan, staff writer for the Hastings Daily Tribune in Nebraska, and news director for WCBN-FM in Michigan. Dave, a native ...

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