Winter driving

The intersection of Lincoln and Union avenues were quiet Monday. A report from LendingTree ranked Minnesota as the sixth-worst driving state.

A new report from LendingTree, an online lending marketplace that connects users to deals on insurance, found that Minnesota is the sixth worst driving state. They based the ranking on factors including driver quality, distracted driving scores, car insurance increases, and road infrastructure.

They also used insurance quotes from their site and highest rate of incidents (accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs and moving citations) to determine the cities with the worst drivers. Anoka was rated the worst driving city and Moorhead came in 10th. As far as the best cities for driving, Columbia Heights was rated No. 1.

The report also grouped incidents into age groups and found, unsurprisingly, that drivers in their 20s had the highest rate of incidents (the study did not look at drivers under the age of 20), followed by drivers in their 30s, and then drivers in their 70s, leading to a ‘U’ shaped curve with younger and older groups having the highest incident rates.

Rick West, public works director for Otter Tail County and member of the Otter Tail County Safe Communities Coalition, says distracted driving is a big concern. “Put the phone down,” he says. “Distracted driving is a huge, huge issue and continues to be. Studies have shown that, although we think we can multitask, that’s really not true. So, if you’re behind the wheel of a vehicle, that should be your primary focus, is driving that vehicle and all that goes along with it.”

Another concern is driving while intoxicated. “Being a member of Otter Tail County Safe Communities Coalition, we continue to have a lot of issues with impaired driving. Alcohol, drugs, etc. That continues to be a huge issue in our county,” West says.

The Otter Tail County Safe Communities Coalition operates under the umbrella of the Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths program which seeks to systematically reduce the number of traffic injuries and fatalities. “It really focuses on what we call the five E’s: engineering, enforcement, education, emergency services and everyone,” West explains. “It’s a concerted effort to reduce the number of fatal and serious crashes that we have in our state.”

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