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    I wasn’t too surprised back in October when I read that the auto-insurance-analyzing website QuoteWizard named Louisville the second-best (meaning second-safest) of 75 U.S. cities for driving in 2019. I’d say we have pretty well-configured roads; not a huge amount of traffic congestion, even during rush hours; generally cooperative, adaptable drivers not given to hyper-aggressiveness and road rage. QuoteWizard based its findings on driving “incidents” — speeding tickets, reported accidents, DUIs and non-speeding citations such as failing to signal, running red lights and cellphone use — gleaned from insurance-quotes data.

    Therein lie certain faults in the information gathering. The driving pool of Detroit, which finished first in the analysis, is estimated to be from 40 to 60 percent uninsured, for example, largely because insurance is so costly, tainting data based on existing policies. Also, much of the moving-violation evidence depends on the vigilance of policing. This is just my experience, but as an East Ender driving mostly around Louisville east of downtown, I don’t notice a lot of police presence; I do, though, notice plenty of faster-than-legal driving and red-light running. One accommodates the other. Lenience, everyone would admit, helps things move along. Don’t know whether drivers in Pleasure Ridge Park and Russell feel the same.

    Then there is the 2019 Allstate Insurance report on America’s Best Drivers, which based its 200-city ranking list on its collision-claims library. Allstate stuck Louisville in 98th place (up 35 places from 2018’s 133rd place!). Detroit, such a driving wonderland to QuoteWizard, came in at 117th for Allstate. The most notable city aside from those two to appear on both lists — Boise, Idaho — finished second-best in Allstate’s analysis and second-worst in QuoteWizard’s.

    What the donde? Are we supposed to brag about our driving prowess or avoid the conversation at all costs?

     

    This originally appeared in the January 2020 issue of Louisville Magazine under the headline “For Better or Worse.” To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Illustration by Maddie Weiner.

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