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Statistics About Traffic Safety in New York City Can be Misleading

trafficjam.jpgIt will probably come as no surprise to New York City residents that New York is the worst city in the United States for driving., according to one study. Part of the calculation is based on gas prices; New York has some of the highest prices at the fuel pump. They are also the most likely to get parking tickets and have their cars towed. Moreover, the streets in New York are full of potholes, which make maintaining a vehicle costly.

New York has the third-worst traffic congestion, according to a TomTom report publicized in Forbes magazine. Even worse than NYC are San Francisco and Honolulu.

Of course, rankings such as these depend on the method used. New York has the third-worst traffic congestion, according to a TomTom report publicized in Forbes magazine. Even worse than NYC are San Francisco and Honolulu. In 2013, a study by INRIX showed that New York City is the fifth worst for traffic, This study mainly focused on tr4avel time and time spent sitting in traffic. In another INRIX study, New York City came in as second-worst in terms of congestion, beaten only by Los Angeles. Back in 2011, a study by the Christian Science Monitor showed that New York City had the fifth worst rush hour congestion, beaten out by Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago and worst of all, Washington D.C.

The Allstate's America's Best Drivers Report calculates driving danger based on time between accidents. It turns out that New York City is not the worst; that dubious honor goes to Worcester, Massachusetts. New York City is 155th out of 200 cities surveyed. New Yorkers are 28.8 percent more likely to have an accident than the national average; drivers in Worcester are more 134 percent likely to have accidents. Of course, Allstate began to insure drivers in Massachusetts only recently, so their numbers may be suspect.

Clearly, driving in New York City is no fun. It is a densely populated old city with many narrow streets originally laid out as cow paths. However, New Yorkers are much more likely to use public transportation than people in other cities. In terms of transit use, New Yorkers top the list, with 55.66 of the population using public transit as opposed to walking, biking or driving in an automobile. This high rate of transit use has to be one of the reasons that New York City is not the worst city for traffic in the U.S.

Another reason that rankings of "worst drivers" are suspect is they don't take into account the number of miles driven. Drivers in New York drive very few miles annually. In other words, trying to identify the cities with the worst drivers, the most motor vehicle accidents, the longest commute times and the worst congestion is extremely difficult. In short, it depends on how you count. Suffice it to say that New York City is up there, but it is probably not the worst.