By DANIELLE WINDOM
Allstate Insurance Co. has released a report to drive awareness around distracted driving in the Atlanta area in an effort to make the city a safer place to drive.
Allstate Insurance Co.’s 10th Anniversary America’s Best Drivers report that was released in early September dropped Atlanta 15 spots from 164 in the 2013 ranking down to 179 out of 200 cities as the best cities to drive in, in the 2014 report. Critics argue that the data is misrepresentative, while Allstate disagrees.
The Allstate Best Drivers report is a 10-year report that is released annually. The data used to rank the cities is captured from Allstate’s own claims department using the company’s statistics and information. The company insures approximately 10 percent of each state’s automobiles and it uses this 10 percent sample to calculate the report. It argues that this certifies the sample as a fair representation of the driving population, making the report accurate.
The 200 cities are chosen based on the largest populations in America. The two components that determine the ranking of each of these cities in the report include population density and the average time in between accidents for any given individual.
The company uses its own claims data to determine the average amount of time after a customer has an accident before they will have another. This information is the greatest factor in ranking the cities. The 2014 report was taken a step further than previous years and incorporated additional factors such as climate and weather conditions in each of the cities.
According to Daniel Groce, Allstate’s corporate relations consultant, the company’s main objective in releasing this report “is not to determine a good city versus a bad city or to get into public policy and insurance rates, but instead to drive awareness around the distracted driving issue.”
Groce also explained that a driver is “23 times more likely to get into an accident when texting while driving.”
Because texting while driving and other distractions are a growing problem in the city, it is not surprising to many that Atlanta would move down 15 spots on the list. Atlanta is a commuter city when compared to other cities across America, which can also help explain why the ranking is so low.
“Atlanta residents spend more time in their cars commuting long distances than in other cities and therefore are more likely to crash more often,” Groce said.
As an Atlanta resident and insurance representative, Angel Worthy said, “Although it’s scary that the roads are so dangerous, I feel good that someone is doing something to raise awareness in helping to make the roads safer.”
Worthy also said most of the insurance claims she deals with are in some way connected to a distracted driving issue. Making Atlanta drivers aware of these issues will hopefully send the city to the top of the list in the coming years.
“Although it is not surprising that the city is dangerous,” said Groce. “We all can think of small ways to improve our driving habits and the make the city safer.”