If you're reading this and you're from Louisville, I apologize in advance...but I HATE Louisville traffic. I love the city but I do not love the interstates that go through it.


I'm not a big fan of Lexington traffic either, but I'm there far less frequently than I am in Louisville. And it's not like I can't handle driving in the big city. I get around Nashville just fine. In fact, it's the other way around...sometimes it feels like NASHVILLIANS are nervous driving in their own city.

But that's Tennessee and we're to talk about Kentucky and irresponsible driving. And I hate to tell you, fellow Kentuckians, but we are on notice. And no, we can't just blame Louisville or Lexington for this one. If that were the case, Kentucky wouldn't be among the top ten states with the most irresponsible drivers.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an agency within the Department of Transportation, crunched the numbers and determined that there was more than a 10% increase in traffic fatalities in 2021 than in 2020. And when the NHTSA broke it down into specific categories, it found that there were increases across the board.

This is where SmartAsset comes in. The financial technology company took the NHTSA's numbers and came up with a ranking of the states with the most irresponsible drivers. Let me just say, if you're traveling through the south, go around Mississippi. The Magnolia State may claim some incredibly beautiful trees, but the driving leaves a lot to be desired. I was startled to learn that better than 29% of Mississippians do not carry auto insurance. But the main reason it's at the top of this list is 1.9 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles driven. Yes, that number is actually the SECOND-highest in that specific category (South Carolina at 1.97 is No. 1). But when combined with other factors, Mississippi comes out on top...or on the bottom, depending on how you look at it.

I mentioned Tennessee earlier. Wellll, despite my lack of concern driving through its state capitol, the Volunteer State comes in second on this dubious countdown.


So where does Kentucky rank? How about a ROBUST No. 8? It's right there in between two states in the desert southwest--Nevada a No.7 and Arizona at No. 8. So we're just a LITTLE more responsible than the folks in Las Vegas--that metro area consumes most of Nevada's population, and we're a little LESS responsible than drivers who navigate huge metropolitan areas like Phoenix and Tucson.

Only 13.9% of Kentucky drivers are uninsured, but that's still too high. Also, the Commonwealth comes in 12th in the category of DUI arrests.

Back in 2019, police in northern Kentucky issued nearly 300 citations on Interstate 75 over the course of a 12-hour period. Not good.

The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety publishes traffic fatality statistics. Here are the numbers for 2020 and 2021.

Kentucky Office of Highway Safety
Kentucky Office of Highway Safety
Kentucky Office of Highway Safety
Kentucky Office of Highway Safety

And here's what the agency has, to date, for 2022.

Kentucky Office of Highway Safety
Kentucky Office of Highway Safety


If you're wondering and haven't seen the breakdown, it's the northeastern U.S. where the drivers are the safest. I don't know if that has something to do with the lower speed limits in that region, but it might. It would take a brain much bigger than mine to make that determination.

Summer is in full swing, and folks are doing a lot of driving. In the words of a great character on a great cop show from the 1980s (Hill Street Blues), "Let's be careful out there."

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