- Ada, Oklahoma

December 23, 2013

Nation's worst drivers come as no surprise

Lone Beasley Publisher

Ada — After investing too much money and time on research, news broke last week that folks at (link) have discovered Louisiana drivers are the worst in the nation.

While we don’t know the amount they spent or time they took to arrive at that conclusion, we can say this for certain: if they invested more than it would take to place a long-distance call to my wife, they wasted too much of both. She could’ve told them because Louisiana is where I learned to drive. 

Worse, it was from a fellow native – my father — under whose tutelage the finer points of my driving skills were honed. 

To ride in a car with him was a mission Seal Team 6 would have avoided, due to the inherent danger. We lived in New Orleans, and though the story about the study (as referenced in doesn’t say so, trust me, it’s the worst place in the state for maniacal drivers per capita. 

Our family’s greatest adventure was crossing the Mississippi River Bridge, which we did often. That point in the river is only about three-fourths mile wide, but each successful trip across it gained us an ever deeper appreciation for the sweet value of life. 

My father was fascinated with shipping commerce as represented by the number of vessels docked at the wharves below, and his favorite diversion was to count them as we drove across the bridge. What texting while driving is today, those ships were to him. 

That nothing separated us from their decks but a flimsy bridge railing and 200 feet of air, or that numerous other fast-moving vehicles shared the span with us, were matters of little concern. He was a man at peace with the world, even if his car’s other occupants were screaming in terror and begging him to pay attention to the road.

Research shows reckless driving is a Southern trait because after Louisiana come South Carolina, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, Florida, Missouri and North Carolina in sheer number of bad drivers. I have driven in those states, and motorists are Morgan Freeman driving Miss Daisy in comparison to New Orleans.

My wife and I lived in Texas and while there, a report was issued revealing that an extremely high percentage of wrecks in Amarillo result from drunk driving. This made perfect sense to me because one would have to be looped to get into an accident there because of how few cars are on the road.

Not so, New Orleans. Admittedly, some drivers there can’t help but be under the influence, it being a place in which a liquor store’s strongest sales feature is its drive-thru window. 

One might expect readily accessible strong drink to explain a lot in regard to Crescent City motorists’ poor driving skills, but that ignores the evidence. My father never ever touched a drop of the stuff. 

My wife would say the same about me, and in the same context.