How Bad Are Drivers in the DMV?
A new study reveals insight into at-fault accident rates by state.
Maryland has the sixth-highest rate of drivers with at least one at-fault car accident on their record, according to a recent study by Insurify.
So, just how bad is the problem in Maryland? Why do drivers in Maryland cause so many accidents? What about the rest of the DMV? How bad are drivers in Washington, D.C., and nearby Virginia? And what can be done to make the streets safer for all drivers?
Our car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Stuart L. Plotnick, LLC have the answers to these questions and more useful information below.
What is an at-fault car accident?
When two vehicles crash into each other, one driver is often more at fault than the other. However, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia all adhere to the principle of contributory negligence.
While one might assume that the driver primarily responsible for an accident should shoulder the losses, the reality is quite different. In the DMV, even if your contribution to an accident is minimal, you are ineligible to seek compensation for your damages—even if the other driver holds a significantly greater share of the blame. This means that if someone is found to be even 1% at fault for the accident, they may not receive any financial compensation for their damages.
Common causes of at-fault car accidents include:
- Speeding drivers who could not slow down in time to avoid a collision; driver in a hurry to get somewhere.
- Distracted drivers, including texting drivers, who crash into another vehicle.
- Drunk drivers or drivers under the influence of drugs.
- Reckless drivers who run a red light or don’t stop for a stop sign.
- Tailgating drivers who cause a rear-end accident.
- Drivers who do not take into account the conditions of the roadway or area they are in (e.g., snow, traffic patterns, rush hour).
Again, most car “accidents” are not accidents. They are caused by human error. Very few are truly accidents. That’s why keeping track of why drivers cause collisions is important for road safety.
Maryland’s at-fault car accident statistics
The recent Insurify study compared the number of drivers in each state who have previously caused an accident. Researchers then ranked each state based on which has the most at-fault drivers.
The Insurify study was based on 4.6 million people who applied for car insurance in 2022. In Maryland, 10.5 percent of drivers previously caused a car accident, putting the state in 6th place for the highest number of at-fault drivers. Nationwide, the average is 8.8 percent.
The Insurify study also included the number of car accidents per capita and per mile for each state. In Maryland, 1 out of 10,870 people die each year in a car accident. And there are 1.11 car accident deaths in the state for every 100 million miles driven, Insurify reported.
How common are at-fault accidents in Virginia and Washington, D.C.?
Virginia and Washington, D.C. both did better than Maryland regarding the number of at-fault drivers in both areas. Both were not on Insurify’s list this year of the 10 states with the most at-fault drivers.
However, Virginia made it onto Insurify’s top 10 list for the most at-fault drivers the year before. On last year’s list, Virginia was ranked the 9th worst state for at-fault drivers. Specifically, 22.36 percent of Virginia drivers had previously caused a car accident, according to last year’s Insurify survey. That figure was 25 percent higher than the national average that year.
Meanwhile, Maryland wasn’t even on last year’s list. As for Washington, D.C., at-fault car accident data about our nation’s capital city was unavailable since the Insurify study did not include it in its research.
What can drivers do to prevent car accidents?
The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (Virginia DMV) have several suggestions for preventing car accidents, including:
- Slow down and drive the posted speed limit. Speeding remains one of the leading causes of car accident deaths in Maryland. In 2021, 168 people died in speeding-related car accidents in Maryland, according to accident data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
- Make a plan ahead of time if you plan to drink alcohol so you can avoid driving drunk. In fact, if your plan is to drink, don’t drive because the consequences can be devastating. We now have rideshare services such as UBER and Lyft.
- Share the road with pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, and other vulnerable road users.
- Put your phone down, and don’t text or talk on the phone while driving. The same goes for other electronics or technology such as touch screens and the like.
- Pull over to the side of the road for emergency vehicles, such as police cars and fire trucks.
How can a DMV car accident attorney help?
Many claims involving car accidents in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia become complicated legal cases. This is because insurance companies often use tactics to minimize or deny compensation to crash victims. They may attempt to shift blame onto the victim or downplay the severity of injuries. When facing such challenges, having an experienced car accident lawyer on your side can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
At the Law Offices of Stuart L. Plotnick, LLC, our dedicated legal team is committed to helping accident victims in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia obtain the compensation they rightfully deserve. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, don’t hesitate to contact our firm to schedule a free consultation. We proudly represent injury victims throughout the DMV.