Survey: NY Drivers Dumbest, Kansans Savviest

Taxi cabs on busy street in Times Square, New York City
AP Photo
Apparently a New York state of mind does not include road awareness.

The Empire State ranked dead last in a new nationwide survey which shows that nearly 20 percent of licensed drivers in the U.S. would fail a written driver's exam. While New Yorkers fared the worst (70 percent average score), Kansas drivers proved the most road-savvy (82.3 percent average score), according to the study by GMAC Insurance.

The survey underscored an alarming ignorance of basic rules of the road. For example, "eight-five percent could not identify the correct action to take when approaching a steady yellow traffic light, and many remained confused by safe following distances."

The annual survey polled more than 5,000 licensed Americans from 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Scores varied by region. Overall, the Northeast had the lowest test scores (74.9 percent average) and had the highest failure rate (25.1 percent). The Midwest boasted the highest test scores (77.5 percent average) and the lowest failure rates (11.9 percent).

Males over 45 earned the highest average test score. Men also outperformed women overall in terms of average score (78.1 percent male versus 74.4 percent female) and failure rates (24 percent female versus 18.1 percent male).

The survey also explored issues surrounding driving distractions. One in four admitted to talking on a cell phone, eating or adjusting the radio while behind the wheel. But just five percent said they texted while driving. More women than men admitted to distracting themselves behind the wheel.