Trouble on Wheels: 20 Cities with the Most Aggressive Drivers (2024)

Elizabeth Rivelli
Elizabeth Rivelli
  • 5+ years writing insurance and personal finance topics

  • Auto, home, health, and life insurance expertise

Elizabeth has extensive insurance industry experience, having written for Insureon, Rate Retriever, and Insurify. She’s also finance and insurance editor for Car and Driver.

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Tanveen Vohra
Edited byTanveen Vohra
Tanveen Vohra
Tanveen VohraManager of Content and Communications
  • Property and casualty insurance specialist

  • 4+ years creating insurance content

Tanveen manages Insurify's data insights, annual home and auto insurance reports, and media communications. She’s regularly featured in media interviews on insurance topics.

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Published February 21, 2023 at 11:00 AM PST

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Driving aggressively — for example, speeding, tailgating, or erratically changing lanes — isn’t just a jerk move. It could also be a fatal mistake. Aggressive driving is a leading factor in many fatal car accidents. 

In 2020, nearly 20% of all fatal crashes in the U.S. involved speeding, 11.6% involved drugs or alcohol, and 7.3% involved careless driving, according to an Insurance Information Institute analysis of National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration data. “Aggressive driving” refers to multiple on-the-road behaviors that puts other drivers and passengers at risk, according to the NHTSA.

Not only is aggressive driving extremely dangerous, but it might be more common than you think. Nearly 80% of drivers said they expressed anger, aggression, or road rage while driving at least once in the past month, according to a 2019 survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

While aggressive driving is a nationwide problem, Insurify’s internal data shows that some areas have more aggressive drivers than others. Understanding which cities and regions have the highest numbers of aggressive drivers can help you stay safe behind the wheel.

To identify the cities with the most aggressive drivers, the data science team at Insurify turned to their database of more than 4.6 million car insurance applications. When drivers apply for car insurance, they must disclose any driving violations on their records. For the purposes of our data, we define the term “aggressive driver” as someone with speeding tickets, DUIs, or accidents on their record.

Insights

  • Salem, Oregon, has the most aggressive drivers in the U.S. Nearly 23% of Salem drivers have a prior violation on their record, according to Insurify’s proprietary data. That’s almost 70% higher than the national average.

  • Virginia has the highest number of aggressive drivers overall, with seven cities appearing on our top 20 list.

  • States in the Northeast and Southwest seem to have fewer aggressive drivers than other parts of the country. Our list doesn’t feature any Northeastern cities.

  • Drivers in Virginia Beach, Virginia, have the highest rate of DUIs (2.64%) out of the top 20 cities.

Check Out: Bad Driving Behavior: Cities with the Rudest Drivers

Top 20 cities with the most aggressive drivers in America 

These U.S. cities have the highest number of aggressive drivers, according to our data:

20. Norfolk, Virginia

Percentage of drivers with a violation on their record: 18.8% 

There were 28 fatal car crashes in Norfolk, Virginia, in 2021. Of those crashes, 46.4% were alcohol-related and 42.8% were speeding-related. Norfolk is home to the world’s largest naval base, NATO’s North American headquarters, and four universities.

19. Newport News, Virginia

Percentage of drivers with a violation on their record: 19%

Insurify found that 19% of Newport News’ nearly 183,000 residents have an incident on their record. However, the city has one of the lowest rates of DUIs (1.27%) and accidents (8.4%) out of the top 20 cities. With numerous historical sites, campgrounds, and more than 4,000 hotel rooms, Newport News sees a large influx of visitors every year.

18. Portsmouth, Virginia

Percentage of drivers with a violation on their record: 19%

Portsmouth, Virginia, has a population of about 96,000 people. Insurify data shows that 19% of drivers in the city have an incident on their record, which means more than 18,200 residents have had a speeding ticket, DUI, or accident. With its proximity to Norfolk, Portsmouth is also affected by naval base traffic, and has its share of historic sites and tourist attractions that bring drivers to the city.

17. Des Moines, Iowa

Percentage of drivers with a violation on their record: 19%

Out of the top 20 cities with the most aggressive drivers, Des Moines, Iowa, has the second-highest rate of DUIs. Insurify found that 2.14% of drivers in the city have been convicted of a DUI. The capital city of Iowa, Des Moines occupies one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the Midwest.

16. Columbia, Missouri

Percentage of drivers with a violation on their record: 19.3%

About 10% of all drivers in Columbia, Missouri, have an accident on their record and 9.7% of drivers in the city have gotten a speeding ticket, according to Insurify data.

15. Everett, Washington

Percentage of drivers with a violation on their record: 19.5%

Speeding tickets and accidents are equally common violations in Everett, Washington. Insurify’s data shows that 11.5% of drivers have been in an accident, and 11.6% of drivers have gotten a speeding ticket. In fact, the city lowered the speed limit on two of its busiest roads in 2022 in an attempt to reduce vehicle crashes and pedestrian injuries.

14. Richmond, Virginia

Percentage of drivers with a violation on their record: 19.5%

Based on Insurify’s data, 9.6% of Richmond, Virginia, drivers have been in an accident. Richmond had 5,061 crashes in 2020, including 26 fatalities and 2,472 injuries, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. Virginia’s capital city is home to more than 1.3 million residents and boasts a diverse mix of industrial, commercial, historic, cultural, recreational, and residential areas. 

13. Cleveland, Ohio

Percentage of drivers with a violation on their record: 19.6%

Between 2016 and 2020, one-third of all traffic fatalities in Cleveland involved alcohol, according to Vision Zero Cleveland. Insurify data shows that 1.72% of the city’s population of nearly 390,000 people have been convicted of a DUI. As the home of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland is a tourism hub. It’s also a major port on the southern shore of Lake Erie and is prone to heavy lake effect snow in the winter.

12. Rock Hill, South Carolina

Percentage of drivers with a violation on their record: 19.7%

Rock Hill, South Carolina, is the smallest city in the top 20 cities with the most aggressive drivers. The population is fewer than 70,000 people, yet Insurify’s data shows that 19.7% of Rock Hill drivers in the city have an incident on their record. Located about 20 miles south of Charlotte, North Carolina, and 70 miles north of South Carolina’s state capital, Columbia, Rock Hill sits on the highly trafficked Interstate 77 corridor.

11. Toledo, Ohio

Percentage of drivers with a violation on their record: 19.8%

Almost 20% of drivers in Toledo, Ohio, have an incident like a DUI or accident on their records. About 10% of drivers in the city have a speeding ticket, 11.2% have an accident on their record, and 1.60% have been convicted of a DUI. Toledo police recorded 231 alcohol- and drug-related crashes in 2022, including 15 fatal accidents, according to Ohio Department of Public Safety Data.

10. Dayton, Ohio

Percentage of drivers with a violation on their record: 19.9%

Dayton, Ohio, has a population of about 141,000 people, which means about 28,000 people have at least one incident on their record. In 2022, Dayton police reported 3,905 serious crashes, including 24 fatalities, and 122 that involved impaired drivers.

9. Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Percentage of drivers with a violation on their record: 19.9%

Murfreesboro, Tennessee, ranks ninth on Insurify’s list of the top 20 cities with the most aggressive drivers. Interestingly, Murfreesboro has the lowest number of speeding tickets among the top 20. Only 8.7% of the population has a speeding ticket on their record. However, the city also has the highest percentage of drivers with accidents on their record, at 12.9%. Murfreesboro is among the fastest-growing cities among American communities with more than 50,000 residents.

8. Columbia, South Carolina

Percentage of drivers with a violation on their record: 20.2%

Columbia, South Carolina, has the lowest DUI rate out of the U.S. cities with the most aggressive drivers. The city has a population of 132,067, and Insurify’s data shows that only .65% of drivers have been convicted of a DUI. However, the state capitol has a high proportion of drivers with a previous accident or speeding ticket on their record at 12.6% and 11% respectively, explaining why it’s number nine on the list.

7. Spokane, Washington

Percentage of drivers with a violation on their record: 20.6%

More than 20% of drivers in Spokane, Washington, have at least one incident on their record, according to Insurify’s data. Nearly 12% of drivers have a speeding ticket, 9.4% of drivers have an accident, and 1.33% of drivers have gotten a DUI. Spokane had 20 speed-related crashes on city streets in 2022, and 34 accidents that involved drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

6. Cincinnati, Ohio

Percentage of drivers with a violation on their record: 20.7%

Cincinnati, Ohio, has one of the highest accident rates out of the top 20 cities with the most aggressive drivers. More than 12% of drivers in the city have an accident on their record, and nearly 11% have speeding violations. Situated on the Ohio River, Cincinnati has ample cultural, educational, and business opportunities. In January 2023, Cincinnati police reported 1,166 accidents, including three fatalities and 259 injuries. 

5. Chesapeake, Virginia

Percentage of drivers with a violation on their record: 20.8%

Nearly 21% of drivers in Chesapeake, Virginia, have an incident on their record, according to Insurify’s data. We also found that 10.8% of drivers have a speeding ticket, 10.3% have an accident, and 1.99% have been convicted of a DUI. Situated on the Chesapeake Bay about 11 miles south of Norfolk, Chesapeake has a population of about 237,820. In 2021, the city had 2,328 accidents, including 24 fatalities and 1,484 injuries, according to Virginia DMV data.

4. Virginia Beach, Virginia

Percentage of drivers with a violation on their record: 21.3%

Virginia Beach, Virginia, has the highest DUI rate out of the top 20 U.S. cities with the most aggressive drivers. After analyzing incident data for the city, Insurify found that 2.64% of drivers in Virginia Beach have been convicted of driving under the influence — the highest DUI percentage on our list. The beach resort town is also the largest city on the list, with a population of more than 450,000.

3. Akron, Ohio

Percentage of drivers with a violation on their record: 21.4%

Akron, Ohio, has one of the highest rates of speeding tickets in the country. We found that 12.2% of drivers have a speeding violation on their record. It also has one of the highest DUI rates in the country, at 2.31%. In 2022, city police reported 6,708 crashes, including 17 fatalities — five of which were alcohol-related.

2. Hampton, Virginia

Percentage of drivers with a violation on their record: 21.5%

In 2021, Hampton, Virginia, saw 3,518 car accidents that resulted in 11 fatalities and 3,676 total injuries. Insurify’s data shows that more than 11% of drivers in the city have at least one accident on their record. The high percentage of speeding drivers is likely a factor: Nearly 12% of Hampton drivers have speeding violations.

1. Salem, Oregon

Percentage of drivers with a violation on their record: 22.6%

Salem, Oregon, has the highest number of aggressive drivers in the U.S. According to Insurify’s data, 22.6% of drivers in the city have an incident on their record. Specifically, 12.5% of drivers have a speeding ticket, 11.5% of drivers have an accident, and just over 2% of drivers have been convicted of a DUI. Oregon’s capital city has a population of more than 175,000 and employs nearly 20,000 people in 73 state agencies located in the city.

Read More: Risky Road Etiquette: States with the Rudest Drivers

Methodology

The data science team at Insurify, a virtual insurance agent and auto insurance comparison website, referred to its database of more than 4.6 million insurance applications to determine the cities with the most aggressive drivers.

In order to apply for car insurance, drivers disclose information such as their state and city of residence as well as their driving history, including accidents and moving violations. Insurify’s data scientists classified the following driving violations as the most extreme forms of aggressive driving behavior: speeding (exceeding the posted speed limit, driving too fast for conditions), failure to stop violations (failure to stop for a red light, school bus, or stop sign), failure to yield violations (failure to yield the right of way, failure to yield to a pedestrian), reckless driving, passing where prohibited, driving under the influence, and tailgating.

Insurify’s data scientists calculated the proportion of drivers with one or more of these violations on their record for each city. The top 20 cities with the highest proportion of these drivers were ranked as the cities with the most aggressive drivers. In this study, cities were defined based on the United States Census Bureau’s classification of an “urbanized area,” an urban area with a population over 50,000.

Conclusion

Aggressive driving is a nationwide problem with dire consequences for those involved. Nationwide, nearly 84% of the cities we studied had double-digit aggressive driving rates. While some cities, such as the ones featured on this list, seem to have a higher proportion of aggressive drivers than others, it’s important to practice defensive driving and protect yourself while on the road no matter what part of the country you drive in. 

Tips to avoid aggressive drivers

While driving, make sure to stay focused and avoid distractions such as loud music and talking on the phone. You should be conscious of your surroundings, observing any signs and signals that may appear and keeping track of any cars in your periphery that seem to be driving dangerously. 

If you happen to be driving in one of the cities identified on our list, make sure you practice extra caution and remain more vigilant. For example, if you’re driving in a city with a high rate of accidents, such as Murfreesboro, Tennessee, make sure you keep some extra distance between yourself and the car in front of you. If you’re driving in a city with a high number of drivers with a DUI, try to avoid driving late at night or during holidays, don’t speed, and wear your seatbelt.

You should also make sure to carry enough auto insurance. While most states require a minimum amount of car insurance, purchasing higher coverage limits or adding optional policies, like collision insurance or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, can provide more protection and peace of mind. 

Data Attribution

The information, statistics, and data visualizations on this page are free to use, we just ask that you attribute any full or partial use to Insurify with a link to this page. Thank you.

Elizabeth Rivelli
Elizabeth Rivelli

Elizabeth Rivelli is a freelance writer covering insurance and personal finance. She has extensive knowledge of various insurance lines, including property and casualty, health, and life insurance. Her byline has been featured in dozens of publications, including Investopedia, Forbes, Bankrate, NextAdvisor, and Insurance.com

Tanveen Vohra
Edited byTanveen VohraManager of Content and Communications
Tanveen Vohra
Tanveen VohraManager of Content and Communications
  • Property and casualty insurance specialist

  • 4+ years creating insurance content

Tanveen manages Insurify's data insights, annual home and auto insurance reports, and media communications. She’s regularly featured in media interviews on insurance topics.

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