SC drivers ranked worst in nation by insurance website

South Carolinaians don't need to travel far to see the nation's worst drivers -- all they have to do is pull out of their driveways, according to a consumer advocacy website.

The Palmetto State shared top "honors" with Montana in Car Insurance Comparison's "Worst Drivers By State" rankingsreleased earlier this week.

South Carolina ranked No. 2 in the 2013 ratings, just behind Louisiana, which improved to a tie for sixth on this year's list.

Each state was ranked based on a scoring system that includes driver fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, percentage of fatal crashes involving pedestrians or bicyclists, and fatal crashes that involve alcohol.

This year's survey also considers National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics from 2012, the latest available, according to company spokesman Tyler Spraul.

South Carolina ranked No. 1 in fatalities per 100 million miles traveled. However, there has been a 28 percent decrease in fatal crashes in South Carolina since 2007, according to Sgt. Bob Beres of the S.C. Highway Patrol.

Statewide, alcohol was involved in 47 percent of vehicle fatalities -- the nation's eighth-highest rate.Beaufort County fared slightly better than the state average, with alcohol involved in only 38 percent of vehicle fatalities.

South Carolina ranked fifth in the careless driving category, which includes pedestrian and bicyclist deaths.

Beres said the statistics used in the rankings are out-dated and the Highway Patrol is concerned about today's numbers, which show a decrease in pedestrian deaths. Pedestrian fatalities in South Carolina are down 15 percent in 2014 compared to 2012 year-to-date, Beres said.

The report warned that insurance companies could use this information to increase or decrease premiums and insurance rates. However, rates are based on much more, according to S.C. Department of Insurance spokeswoman Ann Robertson.

"It is true that driving behaviors do play a role in insurance rates," Robertson said. "However, there are a lot of other risk factors that go into the development of insurance rates."

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