Missouri ranks in top 10 states with the worst drivers

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COLUMBIA - A new study by CarInsuranceComparison.com ranks Missouri in the top 10 states with the worst drivers.

The study ranks states based on fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled; failure to obey traffic laws such as not wearing a seatbelt and driving with an invalid driver's license; drunk driving; speeding; and careless driving.

Missouri is down three spots from last year's number seven ranking with the most improvements made in the "failure to obey" category. The state is now ranked 21 in that category, but is still right outside of the top 10 in both drunk driving and speeding. 

Sgt. Paul Reinsch, of Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop F, says fatalities are actually down 1 percent from this time last year, but he agrees distracted driving is still an issue.

"Year after year, the number one reason we have traffic crashes is people not paying attention, and it has to start with that," Reinsch said. "Carelessness is a big part of that. But whatever the reason driver's are paying attention, we need to work on because that is causing the crashes."  

Mid-Missouri drivers had mixed opinions about the state's ranking.

Austin Rines said he hasn't noticed any particularly bad driving.

"I think Missouri drivers aren't really that bad," he said. "Maybe I'm one of the Missouri bad drivers out there."

But Tammy Ramsey said she completely agrees that Missouri drivers are some of the worst.

"That is true," Ramsey said. "I was down here last February, and I had a gentleman pull out in front of me. I was going 70 mph headed on 63 North, and I sideswiped him and ripped the whole entire rear end off of his car." 

Ramsey is from Excello, Mo. and said she especially notices bad driving when she's in Columbia.

"I hate coming to Columbia," she said. "I don't do it very often, especially if I have to drive."

One of her biggest complaints was careless drivers.

"They don't look. They just pull out," Ramsey said. "Nobody wants to pay attention to anybody else." 

Reinsch said drivers just need to be fully focused when they're behind the wheel to help lower the state's ranking in the future.

"We just like to say that driving is a multitasking function," he said. "So we have to concentrate on what's going on down the road, and if there's something inside that car that's causing you not to pay attention, then that's something that we need to eliminate."

Here's a look at Missouri's ranking in each category:

Montanta and South Carolina tied for the top spot.