New York City residents might have a reputation for being aggressive drivers, but is that reputation deserved? The data reveals that when compared to other counties in the state, New York City is far from the worst. In fact, based on the number of accidents per 1,000 residents, the five boroughs of NYC come in almost last.
So where are the worst drivers in the Empire State? That’s a subjective question and a lot of criteria could be used to qualify “worst.” Rosenblum Law looked at newly-released 2017 auto accident data, including data on death and serious injury to determine which areas have the “worst drivers.” While accidents are not always the result of poor driving habits, the majority of crashes–77%–had human factors. Here’s what was uncovered.
NY Counties with the Most Car Crashes
The counties with the greatest number of accidents corresponds closely with the list of counties with the greatest population as well as those with the most vehicle miles traveled (VMT). Long Island’s Suffolk and Nassau Counties had the most accidents in 2017. Queens and Brooklyn came in third and fourth, respectively, followed by Erie County on the Canadian border.
However, when ranked by crashes per 1,000 VMT, the picture changes. Brooklyn, which has the seventh-most vehicle miles traveled with nearly 14 million, had highest rate of automotive accidents: 1.75 per 1,000 VMT. Yates County, with the third-least vehicle miles traveled, came in at No. 9 on this list. Long Island’s Nassau County, which had the second-most accidents in 2017 also had the second-most vehicle miles traveled and still came in at No. 6 for accidents per 1,000 miles.
|2017 Crashes||2017 VMT||Crashes per 1,000 VMT|
NY Counties with the Most Serious Accidents
Not all accidents are equal; we also sorted counties based on crashes that resulted in death and serious injury. The good news is that the average fatality rate is only 0.38% across all counties, and no county had a fatality rate of higher than 1.5%.
Orleans County, northeast of Erie and next door to Niagara County, had the highest lethal crash rate with 1.37% of crashes resulting in death. Genesee County, just south of Orleans, came in at No. 6 on this list.
|2017 Crashes||Accidents with Fatalities||Lethality Rate|
When one includes serious injuries in the data, the picture changes again, but not dramatically. Orleans, Schuyler, Lewis and Fulton Counties all rank high on the list of counties with the highest rate of serious injury and death in auto accidents. Niagara County, which does not appear on any other list, pops up here with the eighth-highest serious injury and death rate. However, Genesee County falls off the top-10 list dropping all the way to No. 15.
However, when considering the rate of serious injury or death per 1,000 vehicle miles traveled, three of the five boroughs of New York City once again come out on top. Orleans County, which has ranked on nearly all the lists so far, had the highest rate of injury and death per VMT.
|County||VMT||Crashes 2017||Fatalities||Serious Injury||Injury/Death Per 1,000 VMT|
So Which County is Truly the Worst?
There’s no definitive winner. Orleans, Niagara, and Tompkins counties all seem to have dangerous drivers. Brooklyn and the Bronx don’t fare well either. Ultimately it will depend on what criteria one wishes to use. To that end, the following charts show the NY counties with the most drunk driving accidents, road rage-related accidents, and accidents in which speed is a factor per vehicle miles traveled. As to which county is truly the worst, we’ll let the drivers decide that.
Road Rage Crashes
|NY County||Road Rage Crashes 2017||Road Rage Crashes Per 1,000 VMT|
|NY County||Speed-Related Crashes 2017||Speed Crashes Per 1,000 People|
|NY County||Alcohol-Related Crashes 2017||Alcohol-Related Crashes Per 1,000 People|