The typical Chattanooga motorist drives nearly 12 years between accidents, making the chances of a collision in the Scenic City 16.3 percent less likely than in the rest of the country, according to a study by Allstate Insurance Co.
Chattanooga ranked 10th among the nation's 200 biggest cities for the safest drivers in this year's accident assessment report by Allstate, the nation's second-biggest auto insurer. While better than all Southern cities save Huntsville and Knoxville, Chattanooga's relative showing was still below its second-place ranking in the previous year.
Last year, the typical Chattanoogan drove for 12.9 years without an accident. This year, the average Chattanooga had an accident every 11.9 years.
"Human behavior is the biggest cause of accidents," said Mike Roche, executive vice president of Allstate claim organization.
Driver behavior appears to be more tested in larger congested cities.
Allstate bestowed its top honor as "America's Safest Driving City" on Fort Collins, Colo., for a second consecutive year. The safest cities tended to be medium-size cities such as Fort Collins and Chattanooga.
The worst cities for accidents were some of the nation's biggest, including - in order - Philadelphia, Los Angeles and New York where accidents averaged from 37 percent to 60 percent more frequently than in the U.S. as a whole.
Allstate's Tennessee spokeswoman Allison Hatcher said more Allstate-insured drivers will qualify for good-driving discounts in cities that rank the best in the company's annual safe-driving list.
"But the rates for any individual driver depend upon a variety of factors, including his or her driving record, the vehicle driven and how much they drive," she said.
Thomas Clower, state trooper in the Chattanooga district for the Tennessee Highway Patrol, said he is encouraged by the decline in accidents and deaths on highways per mile driven.
"Our fatalities are at an all-time low in Tennessee and we're very proud of that fact," he said.