Motorists Beware: Ranking the States that Treat You Worst

Driving in the United States can be hazardous, not only to your health, but to your civil rights and pocket book as well. Because each state treats motorists differently, how well you fare depends on which state you are driving in.

The National Motorists Association released a ranking of states that scores the government-motorist relationship. Twenty-four metrics grouped within five categories — legal protections, regulations, enforcement tactics, state-imposed cost to drive, and state fiscal responsibility — are analyzed and graded.

From a motorist’s standpoint, 100 points represents a perfect score. The District of Columbia, New York State, and Delaware ranked the most hostile to drivers, scoring failing grades of between 25 and 34 points. Wyoming, North Dakota, and Utah occupied the top of the rankings, led by the Cowboy State with 85 points.

The full rankings can be viewed here.




NMA President Gary Biller noted, “Our analysis reveals how fairly a state regulates and enforces traffic laws, how far due process rights extend to motorists in court, how (and how much) revenue is generated from motorists, and how effectively that revenue is applied toward maintaining and improving roads and bridges in the state.  It clearly indicates that there is substantial room for improvement across the board.”

“With close to 200 million licensed drivers in the U.S., motorists represent perhaps the largest special interest group in the country,” added company spokesperson John Bowman.  “They support government by paying billions of dollars annually in the form of state and federal gas taxes along with various other taxes, fees, tolls, and traffic fines.  Yet many states reciprocate by treating motorists no better than a revenue source to plug budget gaps rather than as constituents that government is designed to serve and protect.”

The only perfect category scores were Montana in Regulations (20 out of 20 points), and both South Dakota and Wyoming in State Fiscal Responsibility (15 out of 15 points). The two worst scores in a given category were the District of Columbia in Legal Protections (0 out of 20 points) and New Jersey in State-Imposed Cost to Drive (1 out of 15 points).


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